Envirofit International Ltd. has received one of the inaugural World Clean Energy Awards in Basel, Switzerland, recognizing its innovative practices and leadership in implementing broad-based energy solutions.
Bryan Willson, director of the Engines and Energy Conversion Laboratory where Envirofit originated and an Envirofit founder, accepted the prestigious award at the June 15 ceremony. Envirofit won the "Transport and Mobility" award for its project to retrofit thousands of dirty, inefficient two-stroke motorcycles across the Philippines with fuel-efficient engines that dramatically reduce emissions.
"This World Clean Energy Award is further proof that the international community is willing to support new, innovative technologies that help improve the environment," Willson said.
Commonly used on motorcycle taxis throughout Third World countries, carbureted two-stroke engines represent one of the largest sources of vehicular emissions in the world. The pollution from these vehicles kills thousands of people annually in Asia, Africa and South America. Nearly 100 million two-stroke vehicles in Asia each produce the pollution equivalent of 50 modern automobiles.
"Envirofit has become a major worldwide player in the challenge to produce energy efficiency alternatives," said Ron Bills, chairman of Envirofit. "We are honored by this award that recognizes the technical and business innovations in our work in the Philippines."
This is the third major international honor recognizing Envirofit in the last several years.
Envirofit was named a 2005 Environmental TechAward Laureate by Silicon Valley’s Tech Museum of Innovation for its use of technology to benefit humanity. In 2006, Stanford Social Innovation Review selected Envirofit as one of the "Top 10 most innovative technologies for creating social change."
Already in 2007, Envirofit was named a World Bank Development Marketplace finalist and selected by Plenty Magazine as one of the "Plenty Twenty – Twenty Companies that will Change the World", joining companies such as General Electric, Toyota and Goldman Sachs on the list.
The prototype of the Envirofit retrofit was developed at Colorado State University’s Engines and Energy Conversion Laboratory in 2003. Envirofit was formed later that year when students and faculty at CSU formed a non-profit corporation to further develop and commercialize the product.
"The Envirofit product pays for itself quickly and allows our customers in the Philippines to generate additional income," Bills said.
Through fuel savings, taxi drivers with retrofit vehicles can earn an extra $500 annually, representing about 35 percent in salary increase for each driver and infusing more than $1.4 million into the local Philippine economy. In the small Philippine city of Vigan alone, project impacts include the creation of 15 to 20 local jobs, annual elimination of 3,000 tons of carbon monoxide and annual savings of 1.4 million liters of fuel.
"Envirofit’s technologies increase incomes, create jobs and drastically reduce environmental impacts," said Joe Zimlich, CEO of the Bohemian Foundation, a private family foundation based in Fort Collins that has been a major financial supporter of Envirofit. "We are proud to play a major part in supporting Envirofit as they develop and disseminate this technology. This award confirms our belief in the power of innovation to change the world."
Envirofit licenses the core of the direct injection system from Orbital Corporation. Orbital has been developing the patented "Orbital Combustion Process" for over 20 years, and their system is used in a variety of commercial and recreational market products.
Envirofit has been publicly endorsed by the Philippine Office of the President and the Clean Air Initiative for Asian Cities, a program developed by Asian Development Bank and the World Bank.
Colorado State University aims to be a worldwide leader in creating new clean and renewable energy technologies including alternative fuels, clean engines, photovoltaic devices, wind engineering and water resources. Numerous technology transfer opportunities and partnerships have emerged from the Engines and Energy Conversion Laboratory at Colorado State, one of the reasons northern Colorado is a statewide leader in the development of clean and renewable energy solutions.
The World Clean Energy Awards were created by the Swiss group, Transatlantic21 Association, to honor innovative projects that move clean energy solutions out of the laboratory into mainstream use. The high-profile jury, chaired by German professor and author Ernst Ulrich von Weizsacker, also includes Christopher Flavin, president, Worldwatch Institute (USA); Nicky Gavron, deputy mayor of London (UK); Ashok Khosla, CEO TARAhaat, New Delhi (India); James Leape, director general, WWF International; Amory B. Lovins, chairman, Rocky Mountain Institute (USA); Andre Schneider, managing director and chief operating officer of the World Economic Forum (Switzerland); and Klaus Topfer, former executive director of the UN Environment Programme UNEP (Germany).