Indian Institute of Technology Madras (IIT Madras) has announced the top 25 teams that form the fourth Cohort of the annual Carbon Zero Challenge, a pioneer pan-Indian competition to encourage startups in the Sustainability Sector. The teams were announced on Thursday during the ‘Embarkment’ event at the IIT Madras campus.

The Carbon Zero Challenge (CZC) is a pan-India Eco-Innovation and Entrepreneurship contest aimed to accelerate the transition from lab-scale models to prototypes. It has completed three cohorts and supported 75 prototypes. CZC 4.0 has inducted another 25 teams, thereby supporting a total of 100 teams, says a release.

The CZC 4.0 launched the fourth cohort in January 2024 and has provided funding to 100 teams totalling over ₹5 crore. It has served as a seedbed for 13 startups and has transformed 42 students/researchers and eight faculty members into entrepreneurs.

The selected top 25 teams comprise students, early-stage startups, faculties, and researchers who showcased their sustainable and circular economy solutions in Water and wastewater, renewable energy, sustainable packaging and building materials, eco-friendly cold storage and transportation and waste management. These teams will be given six months and upto ₹5 lakh to develop their prototype, says a release from the institute..

The Challenge is being supported by Thales, a French multinational company, and Aquamap Centre for Water Management - IIT Madras. The latest edition of CZC4.0 received 850 applications with validated proof of concept from 25 States, from which 25 teams were shortlisted after two rounds of stringent evaluations by 50 experts.

Some of the teams include CarbonAir, affiliated to IIT Madras and proposed the idea of integrated conversion of industrial waste gases to ethanol, ammonia, and other useful products for Zero Carbon Emissions; Yotuh Energy Pvt Ltd, an early stage startup, which proposed electrifying refrigeration for cold logistics vehicles and Pravahan, an idea from students of IIT Madras for advanced zero emission high speed ferry/vessel, the release said.