Winner's Corner

Update from the field

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International Development Enterprises India (IDEI) Awarded 2010


Post written by IDEI

IDEI is social enterprise in India dedicated to providing long-term solutions to poverty, malnutrition, and hunger. They work with smallholder farmers to provide them with affordably priced, income-generating agricultural technologies that improve their productivity and overall quality of life.

In the years since we won the Zayed Future Energy Prize, IDEI has grown magnificently. We have reached out to close to 2 million people since 2010, while also increasing our research and development portfolio and programme implementation.

We have conducted extensive promotional activities and generated awareness about our irrigation technologies among lower-income farmers and agricultural workers.

The prize money itself has been channelled into research and development for smallholder farmers in India. We have conducted R&D on different products that could benefit lower-income farmers. Examples include low-cost greenhouses, cold storage, and other sustainable agricultural products like plant nutrients and organic fertiliser. With the support of the Zayed Future Energy Prize, we placed a specific focus on developing solar-based irrigation devices.

Farmers who have adopted our technologies and systems generate approximately US $400 in net additional annual income, which can help them break the shackles of poverty.  As a result of this disposable income, user-farmers are investing more money into agriculture and are increasing the nutritional status of their families. This includes women and children, who are seeing more spending more on their education and healthcare. They also are building assets and renovating homes. Some farmers have started new enterprises, thereby creating a secondary source of income to sustain themselves in the case of a bad agricultural year. 

Cumulatively through March 2017, user-farmers have generated more than US $7 billion (purchasing power parity) as net additional income. Through the establishment of a non-exclusive supply chain, more than 2.5 million person days of employment have been generated and 610 million person days of employment on-farm have been generated. When monetised, these labour hours translate into more than US $800 million in economic value added to the Indian economy. 

IDEI also has been able to contribute to agriculture by saving more than 670 million litres of diesel fuel, avoiding more than 2.5 million tonnes of carbon emissions, and realising savings of more than 6.5 billion litres of water and 870 million kWh of electricity. 

Technology in Focus

Technology is an important tool in building a more sustainable future, and sometimes a challenge in its own right. Our winners share their experiences in harnessing technology to overcome their most pressing problems.



Post written by IDEI

IDEI works specifically with smallholder farmers, and we target our irrigation technologies to address their needs. Many of these farmers have been able to generate around US $400 as net additional annual income using our irrigation equipment. Many have used this additional income to purchase other assets. Some of these farmers are now keen to move from operating manual technologies to using solar-powered systems. These solutions are easier to operate and will free up more of their time to spend selling their vegetables in markets and on other farming activities.

IDEI took this on as a challenge. Our breakthroughs have been in decreasing unit costs by designing extremely efficient products designed for specific purposes and using locally available materials. We are focusing on an irrigation device with output sufficient for a maximum one acre parcel of land.

In order to design a low-cost and highly-efficient solar-powered water lifting pump, several design trials were carried out to find out the best combination of solar panels, motor and pump. We determined that it was possible to design and construct a solar pump that didn’t require storage, as battery costs are high. Based on the results achieved, a second prototype was developed, and lab and field testing was conducted. However, it was not acceptable, as it did not meet the required 10-meter suction depth.

A third prototype was developed with the following changes: safety covers over the open gears, the gear ratio and stroke length were adjusted to increase water output, and a gear reduction box was devised, instead of an open-gear system. This prototype is available for just over US $400. 

Sharing solutions from our community

Our community of winners share the lessons and best practices they have developed over time, providing valuable expertise and insights to our readers.



Post written by IDEI

Through our entire R&D process over the years, IDEI has learned to constantly interact with and listen to our target groups. In our case, it is mandatory for the entire team to spend time in the field among the target audience and interact with them. Through these discussions, we are able to gauge the precise needs of the community.

The design of every IDEI irrigation device is developed directly from our interactions and conversations with farmers. As we choose which products to develop, we make sure they are products that can be delivered through existing market channels. Another key challenge lies in establishing a supply chain.

Eye on the Prize

Keep up to date with the Zayed Future Energy Prize’s activities throughout the year. From conferences to outreach to exciting projects, we are always promoting our work and amplifying the impact of our winners.


May marks a busy time for the Zayed Future Energy Prize team. Submissions are coming in from around the world, with just over a month until the July 6 deadline. The end of the submission phase will mark the beginning of the evaluation process, when we gather experts from across the global sustainability space to decide on our winners.

As part of our drive to attract submissions, we conduct and attend a wide range of outreach activities around the world, from visiting schools in the UAE, to attending conferences in Brazil, to holding workshops in Fiji, among many others.

School Workshop in Fiji
Outreach Event hosted by UAE Embassy in Chile
School Workshop in Mexico

One of our most important events is the Sustainable Energy for All Forum (SE4All), held in New York City. The Forum features the leading figures in the international sustainability movement as they work to achieve universal access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy.

During the most recent SE4All Forum, the Zayed Future Energy Prize hosted a working session to discuss strategies for increasing the implementation of off-grid renewable energy solutions to reduce energy poverty, led by the Director of the Prize, Dr. Nawal Al Hosany.

Dr Nawal
Dr. Nawal Al Hosany at SE4ALL Forum
SE4ALL Forum
Dr Nawal
SE4ALL Forum


At home, the Prize hosted the Ambassadors Engagement Dinner, which brought together ambassadors and diplomatic representatives from over 30 countries at the headquarters of the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) in Abu Dhabi.

CEO
Masdar CEO - Mohamed Jameel Al Ramahi
Irish Ambassador - Patrick Hennessy
Dr Nawal
Ambassadors Engagement Dinner


The strong turnout from the diplomatic community is a testament to their crucial role in bringing awareness of the Prize to an ever-greater international audience. Without our broader community of supporters – diplomats, former winners, jury members, and friends of the Prize – we wouldn’t be where we are today.

Welcome to the New Review Committee Members!

What is the Review Committee?
The Review Committee meets to evaluate and score entries to the Large Corporation, Small and Medium Enterprise, Non-Profit Organisation and Lifetime Achievement categories and forms a shortlist for the Selection Committee, which then selects finalists for the Jury.


As part of the Prize’s review process, we maintain a mix of long-time leaders and up-and-coming professionals on our Review Committee, striving to include a wide array of perspectives for the important task of picking the most promising entries to move on to the next step. For the 2018 edition of the Prize, we would like to welcome our new Review Committee members:

Dr. Nora Mansouri is a Senior Research Associate at KAPSARC (King Abdullah Petroleum Studies and Research Center) in Saudi Arabia, as well as a sustainable energy enthusiast and professional. Her work earned her the 2015 Women Excellence Leadership Award (LEWA) in the "Rising Stars" category, and she has been appointed as a Future Energy Leader by the World Energy Council. She is also a Board Member for Women in Clean Energy (WICE) under the Clean Energy Business Council for MENA.

Dr. Sultan Al Kaabi earned his PhD from the Masdar Institute of Science and Technology in Abu Dhabi, focusing on planning and optimisation of distributed generation. He was a visiting scholar at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and was a recipient of the Young Emirati Researchers Prize (YERP) Award in 2015 for his M.Sc. research.

Zachary Shahan is a journalist in sustainability and renewable energy, and the director and chief editor of news website CleanTechnica. Additionally, he is the president of Important Media and the founder of EV Obsession, Solar Love, and Bikocity. Zachary is a specialist in solar energy, electric vehicles, and energy storage systems.

Salvatore Vinci is the Chair of the Expert Group of the International Off-Grid Renewable Energy Conference (IOREC) Platform at the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA). Salvatore joined IRENA in 2010, and has focused on promoting rural electrification through renewable energy systems.

Interview with an Influencer

Get to know an influencer, as we pose ten questions --from serious to fun -- to leading figures in renewable energy and sustainability.


Dr Gro Harlem Brundtland

Former Prime Minister of Norway
Lifetime Achievement Winner, 2016


Personal success is not on my agenda. However, successes through a common effort are. The Paris agreement of 2015 is such an example. It now needs to be protected and safeguarded!
Let me recommend "Dark Money" by the journalist Jane Mayer. It is fascinating reading about a phenomenon that explains a crucial part of the contemporary U.S. political scene.
The impact on Norway will not be the biggest problem. Drought, water shortage, flooding and climate refugees will dominate all continents, including Europe, and in devastating ways, affecting us all.
In all cases I build on evidence and search for long-term, effective solutions.
I wanted to become a doctor (which I did!).
Belief that good values will prevail.
I am thankful that I was born and raised in a decent, socially responsible family and country.
The loss of our youngest son.

Voices from Our Future

Perspectives from the future energy leaders among our Global High Schools winners. Read about their journeys in realising their projects and becoming responsible global citizens along the way.


Barry Heneghan

Belvedere College
Global High Schools, Europe, 2017


The visit to Abu Dhabi Sustainability Week in January 2017 was a life changing experience for me. Beyond the excitement of winning the Global High Schools, Europe category of the Zayed Future Energy Prize, the week spent immersed in a sustainability conference had a huge impact on my ambitions as I prepared to finish high school just a few months later. In a general sense, the opportunity to encounter so many businesses, NGOs and fellow students who are working towards finding environmental solutions further inspired me to be part of that movement. At times, this inspiration came from hearing a speaker on stage, whilst at other times, it was encountering a new technology that I didn’t even know existed.

The visit to Masdar City at the end of the week was an experience that I’ll never forget. Such an integrated approach to urban planning doesn’t exist in Ireland and it gave me a glimpse of what the cities of the future might look like. At the same time, our trip into the desert reminded me of why it is so important to preserve the integrity of the natural environment so that it can be enjoyed by the generations to come.

Whilst we got to meet and hear from many interesting people during the week, it was a conversation with the representatives from NGO winner Practical Action that had the greatest impact on me. Learning more about the effect that climate change is already having on communities in the developing world brought home the urgency of the problems that the planet is facing. This is something that isn’t as clear for those of us living in cities and not yet feeling the direct consequences of global warming.

All these experiences reaffirmed my desire to study in an area related to sustainability when I leave school in June this year. Before travelling to Abu Dhabi, I was applying for courses in environmental engineering. After a week of intensive learning, however, I have modified my universities choices towards computer science, and it is in this field that I hope to be a future energy leader.

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