C-Prize 2019

C-Prize 2019 finalists

open this image in new window: Callaghan Innovation - Petra Leary 6

On 20 December 2019 the finalists challenging for C-Prize 2019 were announced.

BioFab NZ, Auckland


The BioFab team share a common goal of significantly reducing the harm toxic materials cause to the environment and to work towards a world where waste streams regenerate, rather than destroy the natural environment. 

BioFab targets a major source of non-compostable waste – polystyrene – by creating a sustainable replacement product. 

Their technology creates packaging and building materials from agricultural waste and eco-friendly mycelium – the vegetative root structure that produces mushrooms. 

This licensed process involves putting wood chips or hemp fibre in a mould, which forms a structure for mycelium growth. The resulting biomaterial can be produced in just a few days, to any shape required, and be as light as polystyrene and as rigid and strong as plywood. 

By harnessing the unique properties of fungi endemic to Āotearoa, BioFab can create a new breed of biomaterial, showcase New Zealand to the world and offer a viable alternative to traditional fossil-based materials.

EcoTex, Christchurch



EcoTex’s goal is to develop a solution to mitigate the impact of synthetic textiles on the environment. 

While many people are aware of the growing problem of microplastics in the ocean, most are unaware that domestic laundering – the washing we do at home – contributes around 35% of all these emissions.

EcoTex’s solution, Lynk, is a product that removes this synthetic textile waste – caused when the abrasive mechanical action of washing machines causes fibres to shed from clothing – from wastewater systems. 

Determined to create not just a novel solution, but a product that doesn't compromise form and aesthetics for function, EcoTex is initially aiming its product at the massive potential consumer market. 

However, it hopes its technology will prove unique and scalable enough to also move into commercial applications in areas such as commercial use, food hygiene and greywater reuse systems – any environment where textiles may interact with wastewater systems.


Ngā Kaitiaki, South Auckland

Ngā Kaitiaki

Ngā Kaitiaki are developing an ecological mobile game and data collection platform designed to transform a generation of gamers into a global community of citizen scientists.

Ahi Ka Rangers is an innovative and fun game that educates players to have a positive impact on their environment - both in-game and IRL (In real life). This island-building simulation game weaves te Ao Māori (Māori worldview) throughout game play providing a new way of understanding biomes and environmental systems - teaching players how to care for and protect them.

Ahi Kā Rangers, will be the world’s largest environmental data collection platform. It is designed to accommodate all citizen science, research, school and community environmental projects. Using mobile technologies and gamification, it harnesses the power of the crowd to collect ground-truth and observational data from anywhere in the world.  Connecting and empowering millions of people to contribute to real-world environmental outcomes; Supercharging the initiatives that are solving our biggest ecological and environmental issues.

They believe complex environmental problems require understanding and a new approach to educating people about these important issues. Ngā Kaitiaki’s mission is to raise environmental awareness for present and future generations and ultimately improve outcomes for the world we live in.

OneBin, Hamilton


Globally, 2.01 billion tonnes of municipal waste is sent to landfill every year, with at least 33% of that not managed in an environmentally friendly way. In NZ alone, more than 2.5 million tonnes of rubbish is sent to landfill annually – 75% of which could be prevented by better resource recovery systems and waste management practices.

The aim of OneBin’s product is to reduce the contamination in recycling streams, thus reducing the total amount of recyclable material going to landfill. OneBin’s approach is to see it, sort it, solve it. To do this, OneBin uses the latest artificial intelligence technology to identify and separate recyclables from waste. This technology will also enable OneBin to intuitively perform waste audits, report the fill level of the bin and maintenance issues, and generate real-time reports – making recycling more convenient and reducing the opportunity for human error. OneBin’s aim now is to grow this system into a scalable startup business that will have a positive impact on the waste industry.


Bluetide Aquaculture, Tauranga

Bluetide Aquaculture

Bluetide Aquaculture aims to develop innovative new approaches to NZ’’s aquaculture industry with its unique mould and tray system in which to grow shellfish.  

Specifically tailored to Toheroa and other native surf clams, the recyclable mould acts as a cocoon for the Toheroa – eliminating the need for sand and other substrates; the trays hold the moulds while allowing the Toheroa to move naturally. 

The system can be placed in the open ocean or on a land-based farm. The trays can be vertically stacked and aligned with current aquaculture systems to match or even better the high protein per unit area ratio. 

Bluetide now has Toheroa juveniles placed in this system, and is monitoring their growth and behaviour.

Within the next three years, its goal is to have the system managing the lifecycle of the Toheroa – from spat production to fully sized harvestable adults – while its ultimate goal is to apply its technology to a wide range of shellfish.


SES, Auckland


About 36% of energy consumption worldwide is associated with the building sector, 50% of which is responsible for space heating and cooling.

Eco-friendly homes aim to minimise the consumption of active heating energy but current solutions, such as insulation and air tightness, lead to overheating in summer. These issues present a need for active cooling.

Eco-friendly homes may also use Photovoltaic (PV) panels to convert the sun’s rays to usable electricity. This also provides us with another source of energy, thermal energy, which is not only wasted, but also reduces the efficiency of PV panels.

The team’s technology,Smart Energy Storage (SES), is a thermal battery which absorbs  natural free cooling energy from the environment or waste heat from PV panels, stores it, and releases it when needed. 

This technology leads to a 30% reduction in energy consumption and CO2 emission in buildings. Also, in eco-friendly homes, air conditioning systems can be replaced by SES in summer, while assisting in heating and reducing the cost of PV panels to a large extent.


Loop HQ, Auckland

Loop HQ

Loop HQ is on a mission to build the residential electricity model that is fit for the future world.

Households' electricity needs create instantaneous demand and the incumbent electrical system is structured to supply whatever we need, whenever we want. The status-quo clashes with the immediate need to innovate, utilise fuel and infrastructure resources more efficiently and accelerate global decarbonisation goals.

Loop HQ is designing a system with patented hardware at its core that will become the connective tissue the electricity industry needs. Powerful data analytics, real-time control mechanisms and the ability to scale-up storage technologies will deliver households an electricity experience like no-other.

This is a global issue, and our unique insights and novel approach to solving a very complex and systemic industry-wide problem has attracted an incredible group of investors from New Zealand and Silicon Valley who want to accelerate change in the world. 

Zincovery, Christchurch


The galvanized steel industry produces waste acid that also contains large quantities of zinc and iron. Currently, this waste acid is disposed of into landfill and wastewater, polluting the environment but also wasting a finite zinc resource. However, there isn’t yet an affordable alternative to disposal.  

Zincovery’s aim is to provide a low-cost recycling service for waste acid, using their new technology to fully recycle the waste acid and extract the valuable materials. The recycled  zinc, iron oxide, and fresh acid can then be reused in industry.

Zincovery is on a mission to make the galvanizing industry waste-free and will start building their first commercial plant in New Zealand in 2021.


Updated: 11 August 2020