The Liveability Challenge 2024: Cricket Protein and Jet Fuel Innovations Emerge Winners

09 May 2024

CricketOne and GAFT bagged the top prizes at this year’s The Liveability Challenge (TLC) — a global crowdsourcing platform for sustainability innovations presented by Temasek Foundation, part of the Temasek Trust ecosystem, and organised by Eco-Business.

Based in Vietnam, edible insect startup CricketOne provides cricket-based proteins for human consumption as a high-nutrition, low-carbon alternative protein source, thereby enhancing global food resilience.

Clean aviation fuels venture GAFT, from the Netherlands, converts carbon dioxide into feedstock for sustainable aviation fuel, providing a clean energy solution for the aviation sector.

These groundbreaking solutions each clinched S$1 million in catalytic funding at the grand finale of the seventh edition of TLC, held at Temasek’s Ecosperity Week 2024 on 17 April.

Watch: The Liveability Challenge 2024 in 60 seconds
(Photo credit: Temasek Foundation)

Championing sustainable solutions for food resilience and climate action

Both winners showcase promising solutions to address food resilience and climate change in Singapore and beyond.

CricketOne has been spearheading crickets as a sustainable, nutritious alternative to traditional protein sources. These insects have a carbon footprint 100 times smaller than beef, making crickets a more climate-friendly food source.

The Vietnamese startup intends to use the S$1 million funding to accelerate the extraction of higher-quality protein from crickets for human consumption while removing the brown colouring.

Ms. Bicky Nguyen, Co-Founder and Business Development Director, CricketOne, and Mr. Martin Spencer, Vice President of Business Development, GAFT, pitching their innovative solutions at the grand finale. (Photo credit: Temasek Foundation)

As for GAFT, which stands for Green Air Fuel Technology, the startup combines carbon dioxide and water to make sustainable aviation fuel, with the aim of reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

To address the shortage of feedstock for sustainable aviation fuel, GAFT’s innovative two-step process converts carbon dioxide into a usable form of clean energy that does not involve waste materials. It does not utilise used cooking oil, which is the typical feedback used to make sustainable aviation fuel.

The S$1 million funding will assist the Dutch team in scaling up production to achieve its goal of producing 500 tonnes of sustainable aviation fuel annually.

More than 1,000 entries from over 100 countries

The two solutions were selected from a record-breaking number of more than 1,000 entries across over 100 countries. The submissions were judged on the impact the project would make, and how feasible and financially viable the proposals were. 

The Vietnamese and Dutch teams emerged winners in the Food & Nutrition and Climate Change tracks for their potential in climate change mitigation, forays in underinvested sectors, and credibility of ideas through extensive testing and pilot projects.

Mr. Lim Hock Chuan, Deputy CEO of Temasek Foundation, highlighted the importance of catalysing support for deep-tech climate solutions as well as disruptive food solutions.

"Our catalytic funding underscores our commitment to help innovators produce operational prototypes that are ready for investment by our network of investors. This will help the innovators commercialise their products to benefit our planet and people for generations to come," Mr. Lim added.

In March, seven finalists for TLC 2024 were unveiled following a rigorous selection process. Their disruptive technologies included wind-assisted propulsion suction sails to reduce fuel consumption for ships; industry-grade, circular carbon fibre materials recovered from aircraft; and a vegan ingredient that makes alternative protein products look, cook, smell, and taste like real meats.

The five other finalist teams — bound4blue, Green COP, Nandina REM, Terra Bioindustries, and tHEMEatCompany — pitching to the judging panel. (Photo credit: Temasek Foundation)

The finalists underwent a month of incubation and coaching to refine their pitches. At the grand finale of TLC 2024, the seven teams pitched their innovative solutions onstage to a judging panel of established investors. 

Beyond the million-dollar grand prize for each winner, a total of S$500,000 of prizes were also awarded to the finalists.



The Liveability Challenge: Global crowdsourcing platform for disruptive sustainable solutions

Ms. Jessica Cheam, Founder and Managing Director of Eco-Business, said that momentum is accelerating in the climate science and technology fields.

"These solutions cannot scale without funding, and this is why TLC exists — to match capital to the best solutions and to urgently provide catalytic capital to address our existential sustainability solutions," she added.

Launched in 2018, TLC sparked a global search for innovative and sustainable solutions to the challenges faced by urban cities. Today, it is also Asia’s largest sustainability solutions platform offering the largest prize money.

In 2024, TLC collaborated with more than 80 partner organisations to crowdsource disruptive climate startups and solutions from around the world. Steering committees comprising experts from the relevant fields and industries were convened to select the best startups in each track. 

For more information, visit TLC's website

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