London (CNN) – The inaugural winners of Prince William‘s Earthshot Prize include the country of Costa Rica, an Indian organization that creates fuel from agricultural waste and a coral farming group in the Bahamas.
Each of the five winners walks away with £1 million — the equivalent of over $1.3 million — and the promise of “professional and technical support” to scale up their innovations.
Costa Rica won for its scheme to pay local citizens to protect and restore rainforests and local eco-systems, a system that the prize committee credits for having already reversed decades of deforestation.
Indian organization Takachar’s innovation was a technology that attaches to tractors and reduces smoke emissions by up to 98% while converting the residue into new products.
Coral Vita in the Bahamas won for its method of accelerating coral regrowth by growing it first on land and then replanting on depleted underwater reefs.
The entire city of Milan was recognized for “Food Hubs” approach to reducing food waste and distributing to the needy food that would be otherwise be wasted by restaurants and supermarkets.
And a Thai, German and Italian group won for its AEM Electrolyser, a “plug and play” module that turns water into emissions-free green hydrogen. Green hydrogen technology — which is powered by renewable sources — already exists, but this module is compact, allowing for as few as one electrolyzer unit or as many as 70 to be fitted within it. That makes it versatile and more accessible to lower-income countries and small businesses.
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Written by Hannah Ryan and Max Foster