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The Milken-Motsepe Prize Reframed

Five teams to share $350,000 in funding to continue developing and testing innovative off-grid green energy technologies

The Milken Institute and the Motsepe Foundation today announced the five teams advancing to the Finalist Round of the Milken–Motsepe Prize in Green Energy. Each finalist team will receive $70,000 to further develop and test their designs in a live field test demonstration in South Africa next year.

The finalist teams are:

  • AfTrak Micro Electric Agriculture and Energy, for its innovative system of using solar microgrids to power custom-designed tractors for deep-bed farming;
  • GEG ehf., for its solar- and geothermal-powered hybrid renewable energy system;
  • New Digit Technologies, for its compact, portable device to generate energy and purify water;
  • OMNIVAT, for its containerized electricity generation and storage system for remote communities; and,
  • Smart Agri-Centres, for its solar-powered community hubs that provide affordable clean energy and services to farmers.

“Access to electricity can advance industrialization across Africa and improve the standards of living for many marginalized communities,” said Dr. Precious Moloi-Motsepe, co-founder and CEO of the Motsepe Foundation. “These finalists are building innovative solutions to deliver on the promise of a sustainable future, in line with the Sustainable Development Goals. We will be delighted to welcome them to South Africa for the live demonstrations next year.”

An independent panel of expert judges determined the five teams continuing to the Finalist Round based on a rigorous evaluation of real-world data.

Judges will continue to evaluate competing teams’ abilities to meet the challenge of generating 60kWh of electricity in a 24-hour period by:

·         demonstrating off-grid electricity generation using green energy sources;

·         validating demonstration results with data collection; and

·         providing affordable and reliable electricity to energy-poor communities, as informed by the demonstration.

“These finalists have once again proven the value of the innovation competition model in driving breakthroughs,” said Emily Musil Church, PhD, senior director at the Milken Institute. “The Semifinalist Round pushed these teams to stretch their limits and build solutions that are scalable and life-changing for millions.”

To date, the competition has awarded US$750,000 to entrepreneurs testing bold ideas to expand access to reliable, affordable, and sustainable electricity in Africa.

In May 2024, the judges will award a US$1 million Grand Prize. A runner-up prize of US$250,000 will also be awarded. In total, the Milken–Motsepe Prize in Green Energy will award over US$2 million in prizes and additional benefits.

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