Winners

June 2021: Renuka Ramanujam


HUID is a project that aims to create an exemplary model of what a circular local economy could look like by way of combining waste streams, and creating a biodegradable material that can help to circumvent the issues surrounding petroleum based materials.

Onions are fairly ubiquitous around the world, their skins often destined for compost. With an inherently robust and protective quality, it could be said that onion skins are nature’s own form of single-use packaging. The intervention of using such an abundant waste material prevents further plastic usage that can be implemented on a local level in many places ensuring a lower carbon footprint, while only delaying the onion skin's journey to the compost pile for a short while. You can follow Renuka's progress on HUID here.

April 2021: Exaquest Carbon


Exaquest Carbon is a new 501(c)(3) research nonprofit whose mission is to develop open-source technologies that remove CO2 from the atmosphere by slowing down the decomposition of biomass. Exaquest was founded by John Lin and Dr. Amber Janda – two chemical engineers with a deep understanding of CO2 who have concluded that natural photosynthesis is the best process available for gigaton-scale CO2 capture. The only reason that plants and trees are not yet a complete solution to the climate crisis is the fact that they usually decompose (i.e., rot) quickly when they die, thus returning the carbon in biomass to the atmosphere as CO2 and CH4. Since it is known that dry biomass decomposes very slowly (if it decomposes at all), one of Exaquest’s research goals is to develop a cheap, scalable, energy-efficient system for aboveground storage of dry biomass. To learn more about Exaquest Carbon (and to follow the progress of Exaquest’s research), please visit www.exaquest.org. Or listen to Exaquest co-founder and president John Lin talk about CO2 removal and Exaquest’s work in this lecture, this episode of Make Peas Not Beef, or this episode of Carbotnic.


March 2021: Abigayel Bryce


Root Author x Stories to Change the World are connecting the past and present to stories of a hopeful tomorrow with Future Folklore: A Climate Fiction Short Story Contest and Anthology. We are driven by the question: Who is telling the story of climate change? The answer, quite simply, is not enough of us. Future Folklore is one antidote to this problem. It represents the hopes, dreams and concerns of those seeking an abundant future. All are welcome to become designers of the future by submitting tales set in a future world, where equitable climate change initiatives have been set in motion. Selected stories will receive prize money. Submissions open June 14, 2021. Get updates by following @RootAuthor and @StoriestoChangetheWorld on Instagram! Or visit STCWpublishing.com/contests for contest guidelines.

Liberate the story of climate.

February 2021: Nate Adams


Nate has always loved houses and science, so it’s only natural that he and his partners have worked to combine the two into a system where any homeowner can get a comfortable, healthy, renewably powered house if they want it. Nate wrote The Home Comfort Book to serve as an educational on-ramp to the building science that controls how your house works, and cofounded HVAC 2.0 to provide a repeatable process and profitable business model for HVAC contractors to deliver those results.


Electrification is a natural outcome of HVAC 2.0 since right sized HVAC can provide far better comfort, and smaller HVAC naturally means heat pumps due to how they work. To learn about electrification take the Electrify Everything Course or join the Facebook group.

January 2021: Dahl Winters

Cyan is a small-scale, open-sourced direct air carbon capture system designed for individual use. It is small on purpose, to empower people to tangibly offset a piece of their emissions and to get them thinking about and finding creative ways of minimizing their carbon footprint. All the documentation for how to build and use a Cyan is at this GitHub repository. You can follow Dahl's ongoing status updates on Cyan on the OpenAir forum. Here's Dahl talking about Cyan on YouTube. Subscribe to OpenAir Collective's YouTube channel for future updates.