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Carbon Zero Challenge (CZC) aims to trigger novel ideas towards developing carbon neutral systems and grid-free infrastructure to serve five major sectors which are plagued by energy shortages/costs. They are Urban housing, Transportation systems, Industries, Agriculture and Water and Waste management facilities. Grid Free /Carbon neutral Energy alternatives will make a great difference in the performance and economy of these sectors. The challenge is to understand the energy needs of these sectors and develop a sustainable green energy alternative by combination of one or more renewable energy sources.

The grand challenge posed to the competing teams is to develop a grid free alternative system which is economically viable, socially acceptable, environment friendly, and easily replicable in multiple areas.

Carbon Zero Challenge 2017-18 was open to students and/or early stage entrepreneurs of Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Karnataka, Puducherry, and Andaman and Nicobar Islands. The competition received a wide response with a total of 531 applications from college student teams (479) and early stage start-ups (52).

The project applications were evaluated based on how close they were to being carbon neutral or grid free in terms of minimising GHG emissions and their overall life cycle costs. The metrics used will be output, outcome, impact and value. After rigorous two-level screening, a total of 26 teams have been shortlisted to go to the Phase II of CZC – wherein teams build prototypes for their project ideas.

These 26 teams are being provided with expert mentorship and prototype funding upto Rs 5 lakhs per shortlisted project* to transform their solutions into tangible products. The contest will culminate into a final demo day when the shortlisted teams will demonstrate their prototypes before experts from industry and academia. The best solutions will receive prizes in cash and kind, and all the teams will be provided with opportunities to interact with investors and researchers to further develop their ideas.

*terms and conditions apply

Water and Waste Management
Urban Areas/Cities
Agriculture & Forestry
Click on any of the themes above for specific topics

Team Details

  • Maximum of 5 per team
  • Team members can be students of any recognized university, researchers who are either independent or part of an organization, innovators and early stage entrepreneurs. 
  • All team members must necessarily belong to institutions, or have companies registered in one of the 5 States/UTs covered: Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Karnataka, Puducherry and the Andaman and Nicobar Islands

The contest comprises four-stages

Stage 1 – Registration of teams. This can be done online. (See Next Steps)
Stage 2 – Top 25 teams shortlisted for the mentorship phase
Stage 3 – 6-month mentorship with experts from US and India. This includes expert guidance and financial assistance for developing prototypes.
Stage 4 – Final event during which the shortlisted entries will demonstrate their solutions, and winners will be announced,

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To Learn more about the competition



Organizing Partner

Knowledge Partner

Technology Partner