UCL students win London Mayor's Low Carbon prize
14 June 2013
UCL students Will Hines and Rachel Clemo, studying computer science and history respectively, have won the London Mayor’s Low Carbon prize - the second year in a row a team from UCL has triumphed in the competition.
The winning idea – their business Reseed, providing a cheaper and more environmentally friendly alternative to paper receipts to businesses in the capital – beat off competition from around 100 other entries to the competition, sponsored by leading industrial firm Siemens, to take the top prize of £20,000.
Will and Rachel’s business, Reseed, is an idea to remove the need for paper receipts and allow users to access their receipts online using their smartphones. Receipts are costly to produce, easy to lose, and add to consumer waste, so the idea behind the new system is to save money for retailers who would be encouraged to donate a percentage of their savings towards planting more trees – providing both financial and environmental benefits.
As part of their win, Will and Rachel receive not only the title of winners of the Mayor's Low Carbon Prize but the opportunity to turn their idea into a commercial reality with the £20,000 prize funding and practical support.
It is not the first time a UCL team have won the prize, with Bio bean, which will produce biodiesel and biofuel pellets from used coffee beans, taking first prize in last year’s competition.
Attending the awards ceremony at the Siemens Crystal, the Mayor of London Boris Johnson said:
"The wonderful wealth of ideas from the many students who entered this year’s prize is a true testament to the bright minds of London’s future.
“I have no doubt that every student involved will go from strength to strength as they move into the world of work, via the exciting apprenticeships opportunities at Siemens, or as young entrepreneurs forging their own way from the outset, to ensure London’s economic future.”
The Mayor's Low Carbon Prize, which is open to students at Further and Higher Education Institutes across the capital, awards cash prizes to help develop the best ideas for reducing carbon emissions from London's buildings, transport and energy infrastructure. It forms part of the Mayor's commitment to achieve a 60 per cent reduction in carbon emissions from 1990 levels by 2025.
Commenting on Will and Rachel’s win, Timothy Barnes, the Director of UCL’s centre for entrepreneurship UCL Advances, said:
“Will and Rachel’s win is well deserved. We at UCL Advances have worked with Will, in particular, for some time and he has displayed a really impressive drive to innovate at the very edge of the digital tech frontier.
“Reseed is an excellent example of this – a truly novel concept which uses a digital solution to create potentially massive environmental benefits.
“Winning the prize, I am sure, will go a long way to realising those benefits and it is a brilliant example of the dynamism and determination of many UCL graduates to become successful entrepreneurs.”