Dutch start-up wins half a million euros for air bubble curtain to combat plastic soup

Green start-ups from the Netherlands, Germany, Great Britain, Norway and Sweden, the countries with a Postcode Lottery, can once again secure a place in the final of the Postcode Lotteries Green Challenge.



The Amsterdam-based start-up The Great Bubble Barrier is the winner of the Postcode Lottery Green Challenge 2018. During the final, 29-year-old Anne Marieke Eveleens convinced the international jury that her “Bubble Barrier”, a revolutionary air bubble curtain that combats the plastic soup in our oceans was the winner. As the winner, Anne Marieke and her team will receive a cheque of EUR 500,000 to further develop their green innovation.

The runner-up prize of EUR 200,000 is for start-up Reverse Resources from Estonia, a software platform for the clothing industry’s recycling process. The other three finalists will each take home EUR 100,000. This brings the total prize pool of one of the biggest sustainability competitions in the world to EUR 1 million. In addition to the prize money, all five finalists will receive six months of expert coaching to improve the likelihood of their businesses succeeding.

The Great Bubble Barrier has developed an air bubble screen for use on riverbeds that catches plastic before it arrives at sea. Approximately 80% of the plastic floating in the oceans enters the sea via rivers. In order to tackle plastic soup, The Great Bubble Barrier sends high-pressure air through a perforated tube on the riverbed. This creates an air bubble curtain that blocks both the stream of plastic waste on the surface and the floating microparticles underwater. The plastic then floats to the waterfront along the air bubble curtain, where it is collected for recycling.

Anne Marieke Eveleens: “The fact that I am standing here now as a winner is beyond my wildest dreams! The prize money will help us to attract new talent, but also to develop our own plastic capture system. In addition, we can now put in a “Bubble Barrier” in the Netherlands. Fantastic!” 

Runner-up prize for Reverse Resources
Ann Runnel (36) of Reverse Resources from Estland has been awarded the runner-up prize of EUR 200,000. Reverse Resources is a software platform for the clothing industry’s recycling process. Using the platform, clothing manufacturers can directly align their supply of waste textiles with textile recyclers.

EUR 100,000 for Dutch, British and American finalists
The EUR 100,000 prizes were awarded to the Dutch start-up AquaBattery, the British start-up LettUs Grow and the American start-up Algiknit.

Record number of entries
This year, a record number of 845 entrepreneurs from 100 countries submitted their sustainable business plans aimed at combating climate change. Last year, the Rwandan start-up EarthEnable won the EUR 500,000 first prize with their sustainable alternative to cement.



Winners Video