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The Coronavirus pandemic has reshaped the way we connect with each other and highlighted the fragility of our shared environment. This pandemic has brought to the forefront just how quickly and abruptly life can be altered on a global scale. As this new reality draws parallels with the impending impact of climate change, solutions to global challenges have never been more relevant or more welcome. The global community is finally united around the rallying cry to reshape our way of life into a better, more sustainable version and Katerva is poised to lead the way. The Katerva Awards give a platform to the best ideas on the planet, putting a spotlight on solutions and accelerating them toward global impact. 

Every year thousands of these innovations are submitted to Katerva. The submissions are reviewed by Katerva’s nomination committee and up to 50 are identified as Finalists. Katerva’s global network of experts evaluate those finalists through four lenses: 

  • Technical, scientific, and practical soundness
  • Commercial viability
  • The potential to scale globally.
  • The potential global impact


We are pleased to announce the 2020 Katerva Awards Category Winners poised to reshape the world.


  Katerva’s Category Winners  2020  



Food & Water category innovations support a society where everyone can have clean water and safe, nourishing food.

Category Winner

Desert Control, Norway - 12 million hectare of fertile land is lost every year and, according to the UN, about 1.2 billion people are at risk from desertification. Desert Control have developed liquid nano-clay that can turn sand into fertile soil, as well as reduce water use by 50%, and significantly increase yields.


Seawater Greenhouse, UK - Using sunlight and sea water to grow crops in hot, arid regions.

Thrive Agric, Nigeria - A platform that brings all players of the agricultural sector together, thus levelling the playing field for smallholder farmers.



Cities & Mobility category innovations support a society where everyone can live and move freely, safely and pollution-free.

Category Winner:  

Made of Air, Germany - Construction materials make up around 40% of our global manufactured goods. Up to 50% of a building's life carbon is in its materials. Made of Air materials sequesters up to 2.5kg CO2/kg and is energy positive, producing 3.6kWh /kg. Applications include facade paneling, interior wall paneling, thermoplastic car interior paneling, cabinetry, flooring, and furniture/furnishings.


Algenesis, USA - Algae-based alternative to petrochemical foam, growing it on non-arable land, with waste-stream water, while capturing CO2 from the atmosphere or from a waste CO2 streams 

Sun Exchange, South Africa - Online marketplace that democratises investment in, and use of, solar power.



Energy & Environment category innovations support a society where everyone can enjoy a clean and sustainable resources and energy.

Category Winner

Piñatex, UK - Pineapple plantation in the Philippines produce 13 m tons of pineapple waste every year, worldwide it is about 54 m tons. Piñatex uses the waste to develop a sustainable alternative to both mass-produced leather and synthetic materials, creating a new source of income for farming communities in the process.


Reefball, USA - Reef Ball modules designed to mimic natural reefs, designed to be easily deployed and self-anchoring.

Icebrick, Israel - thermal energy storage cell which is a building block for a water-based energy storage system, safer, more cost-effective, cleaner than Li-ion batteries or any other electrochemical solution.



Health & Wellbeing category innovations support a society where everyone can enjoy long and healthy life.

Category Winner

NitroPep, UK - Antimicrobial resistance and infections caught in hospitals are a huge challenge in developed and developing countries alike. NitroPep have developed an approach that allows antimicrobial actives and disinfectants to bond to both metal and plastic surfaces, interacting directly with the bacteria or virus killing it. Laboratory tests have shown that these surfaces can kill more than 99.99% of bacteria in less than five minutes, including strains of MRSA bacteria that have become resistant to several antibiotics. 


Eniware, USA - portable medical sterilization unit that is power independent, enabling surgeries to be safe and cost efficient anywhere in the world.

DOT Glasses, Poland - Patented, ultra affordable, snap-together, adjustable one size fits frames at the cost of $3/pair.



Education & Human Resources categories innovation support a society where everyone is able and willing to contribute to society. 

Category Winner: 

Livox, Brazil - Millions of people with disabilities are unable to communicate verbally. Created by a father for his daughter who has Cerebral Palsy, Livox is the first intelligent alternative communication app that uses technology and artificial intelligence to allow people with disabilities to communicate and learn.


MyMachine, Belgium - Entrepreneurial learning through collaboration across all educational levels.

 Choco4Peace, Colombia - A multi-institutional movement that uses cacao and blockchain in peace building.


To find out more about the five categories, and the other Finalists, visit Katerva’s website.


  2020 People’s Choice  

In addition to the expert selected category winners, Katerva opens voting to the public to choose a People’s Choice winner in each category. In some instances, votes were split evenly amongst the top two nominees, resulting in two winners per category: 

Food & Water

Seawater Greenhouse, UK - Using sunlight and sea water to grow crops in hot, arid regions.


Cities & Mobility

Energy from sewage, Spain - Creating clean energy from sewage.


Energy & Environment

Reefball, USA - Reef Ball modules designed to mimic natural reefs, designed to be easily deployed and self-anchoring.

SolarGaps, Ukraine - Window blinds that align to the sun to generate energy while keeping you cool.


Health & Wellbeing

Cervical Cancer Test , UK- DIY home urine test to detect risk of cervical cancer.

Uganics, Uganda - Organic soap that helps to reduce the risk of malaria.


Education & Human Resources

Livox, Brazil - Artificial Intelligence Communication App giving voice to people with disabilities.

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