Worth a total of €3.25 million and funded under Horizon 2020, the EU's research and innovation programme, the prizes will reward innovative approaches to integrating solar energy into historical buildings, using renewable energy in hospitals, and developing products that help cut emissions by reusing carbon dioxide (CO2).
Carlos Moedas, Commissioner for Research, Science and Innovation, said: "Protecting our rich cultural heritage and providing state-of-the-art hospitals need not be at odds with our goal for a sustainable, affordable and low-carbon energy future. These prizes will help mobilise the talent needed to find new ways to deploy existing technologies to achieve these goals, and the innovative reuse of CO2 will help to tackle climate change, one of the major societal challenges worldwide."
The €750.000 Horizon Prize Photovoltaics meets history addresses the technical constraints in integrating photovoltaic energy sources in historical urban districts. The prize will be awarded to the most suitable architectural and aesthetical design for a photovoltaic energy system which at the same time presents an optimal technical solution.
The €1 million Horizon Prize Low carbon hospital will contribute to finding solutions for using 100% renewable energy sources for heat and power generation in hospital buildings. The award will go to an innovative solution integrating several technologies into one energy system, which can guarantee uninterrupted energy supply.
The €1.5 million Horizon Prize CO2 reuse will be awarded to the developer of an innovative product that reuses carbon dioxide (CO2), making a genuine contribution to achieving net emissions reductions.
Contestants can apply until 26 September 2018 for the Photovoltaics meets history contest and until 3 April 2019 for the two others. Applicants have total freedom in the approach they take to deliver the breakthrough solution. The rules of the contests are available on the Horizon Prizes website.
Horizon Prizes are challenge prizes (also known as 'inducement' prizes) which offer a cash reward to whoever can most effectively meet a defined challenge. They act as an incentive for innovation by prescribing the goal, but not how the goal should be achieved. The European Commission is introducing a set of challenge prizes under Horizon 2020, the EU's €77 billion research and innovation programme running from 2014 to 2020.
The three prizes in the area of energy contribute to the objectives of both the Energy Union and the Strategic Energy Technology (SET) Plan. They can generate breakthroughs and boost innovation in low carbon energy technologies, leading to greater sustainability and efficiency, while increasing our energy security and supporting the decarbonisation of the European economy.