The Green Genius – or ‘Greenius’ – contest will look to find solutions to problems around energy security and food and water shortages.
Entrepreneurs and businesses will be invited to compete for the £3m to fund further development and commercialisation of innovative technologies.
Successful projects will develop technologies that secure long-term resource security, are economically and environmentally affordable and which support improvements in the natural environment and wellbeing.
Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg said: “The ‘green’ sector is worth 8% of UK GDP – the largest proportion of any of the leading industrial G20 nations – and employs almost 940,000 people – up 2.8% from last year.
“Now we want Britain’s green talent to find ways to keep bills down for households and businesses and ensure we manage our food, water and energy supplies more sustainably,” he said.
Sales in the green economy are growing at a rate of 4.7%.
Under current projections, the world will need at least 50% more food, 45% more energy, and 30% more water by 2030. With global temperatures rising and world population on the increase there is the additional challenge of producing for these needs without further damaging the environment.
Richard Harley, of Goldfish Bio, said that more could be done. “I feel that they could put funds out there [to support green technology] and make them more available,” he said.
“We have spent two years at green technology firm Goldfish Bio trying to pass a nano-nutrient product that grows fish and prawns, cleans waste water, grows algae for bio-fuel and captures CO2. If there was an easier way to access funds and the right people our nano nutrient plant it would have been sorted by now.”
The competition will be run by the Technology Strategy Board and will begin later this year.