As part of the Heathrow Centre of Excellence we award two Sustainable Innovation Prizes each year for ideas that could help solve some of the challenges facing airports and the aviation industry.
The two prizes – one for an external applicant, the other for an internal airport colleague entry – provide the winners with funding to bring their ideas to life and use the airport as a “test bed” for its development.
2018 was the first year for our sustainable innovation prize. The 2019 prize is exploring the topic of zero net carbon air travel. Read more and enter the prize, here.
Winning in 2018!
Our inaugural business innovation prize winner was Energy Crop Solutions. Led by Gary Crooks, the team is trialling the planting of willow varieties at the airport as potential feedstock for our biomass Combined Heat and Power facility, which supplies Terminal 2. They are also exploring potential air quality, ecosystem and visual benefits.
Gary’s team are working with partners, including The University of Essex and local charity Green Corridor to deliver the pilot which is close to Terminal 5.
- Energy Crop Solutions
- Green Corridor
Five honourable mentions were also given to the other finalists, and Heathrow has been exploring whether these ideas can also be supported in some way at the airport:
- Cheshire- based Driver Net, which has established a smart logistics app which would be tested for its potential to improve operational efficiency and cut vehicle emissions from freight deliveries;
- London-based ForestCar – an innovative airport car sharing service involving peer-to-peer lending;
- Dorset- based ECO360 which provides recyclable cardboard furniture and suggested trialling these in specialist airport applications;
- Hertfordshire-based Urban Control, which put forward low-cost noise detection monitoring combined with machine learning to determine specific sources of noise;
- Leeds – based Yellow Label – a tech start-up seeking to cut food waste communicating the availability of discounted food to consumer.
Internal innovation competition 2018 winner
A similar innovation competition to engage colleagues who work at the airport was won by Maidenhead resident Andrew Swift.
His winning idea was to use the airport’s plastic waste for its road surfacing. Heathrow has funded research into Andrew’s winning idea with its university partners, which it is hoped will lead to an on-airport trial.