Projects include switching Indian vendors to solar from coal, land-based coral farm

Prince William announced 15 inaugural finalists Friday for the Earthshot Prize, his ambitious global environmental award that aims to find new ideas and technologies to tackle climate change, air pollution and the Earth’s most pressing challenges, the Associated Press reports.

The finalists include a 14-year-old student who proposes using solar energy to replace charcoal to power millions of roadside ironing carts in India; a land-based coral farm in the Bahamas to restore dying coral reefs; a community project in Congo devoted to protecting gorillas; and a Kenyan enterprise that turns organic waste into fertilizer and insect protein for farmers.

Five winners will be chosen next month from the 15 finalists, and each will receive a grant worth 1 million pounds ($1.4 million). In addition, 14 global companies and brands, including Microsoft, Unilever, Ikea and Walmart, have agreed to support and scale the ideas developed by the finalists.

The prize is billed as the most prestigious of its kind, with a 50 million-pound prize pot to be awarded to five winners every year until 2030.

One of the shortlisted candidates is Delhi-based Vidyut Mohan, who has developed a portable technology that rapidly converts crop residues that would otherwise be burned into bio-products like fuel and fertilizer.

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