From a cleaner freight train to an automated beehive, a way to recycle fabric, and other bold, new technologies, the 5th annual awards honor the products, concepts, companies, policies, and designs that are pursuing innovation for the good of society and the planet.
NEW YORK— The winners of Fast Company’s 2021 World Changing Ideas Awards were announced today, honoring the businesses, policies, projects, and concepts that are actively engaged and deeply committed to pursuing innovation when it comes to solving health and climate crises, social injustice, or economic inequality.
ZeroAvia offers the first practical solution for decarbonizing the aviation industry and utilizes hydrogen-fueled powertrain technology to replace conventional engines in commercial aircraft. Adoption of this technology results not only in true zero-emission flight but also in lower fuel and maintenance costs. The company previously completed its first electric flight in the US in 2019, then built the second flying prototype in the UK, and conducted its first electric flight in June of 2020. In September 2020, it achieved the world’s first hydrogen-electric flight of a commercial-grade aircraft.
Now in its fifth year, the World Changing Ideas Awards showcase 33 winners, more than 400 finalists, and more than 800 honorable mentions—with Health and Wellness, AI & Data among the most popular categories. A panel of eminent Fast Company editors and reporters selected winners and finalists from a pool of more than 4,000 entries across transportation, education, food, politics, technology, and more. Plus, several new categories were added, including Pandemic Response, Urban Design, and Architecture. The 2021 awards feature entries from across the globe, from Brazil to Denmark to Vietnam.
Showcasing some of the world’s most inventive entrepreneurs and companies tackling exigent global challenges, Fast Company’s Summer 2021 issue (on newsstands May 10) highlights, among others, a lifesaving bassinet; the world’s largest carbon sink, thanks to carbon-eating concrete; 3D-printed schools; an at-home COVID-19 testing kit; a mobile voting app; and the world’s cleanest milk.
“We are honored to be a finalist as it further reinforces the importance of our work of making sustainable flight a reality,” said Val Miftakhov, CEO and founder of ZeroAvia. “We believe that hydrogen is the only meaningful path towards zero-emission aircraft, and we are excited to see so many beginning to recognize the potential of this energy source within the aviation industry.”
“There is no question our society and planet are facing deeply troubling times. So, it’s important to recognize organizations that are using their ingenuity, impact, design, scalability, and passion to solve these problems,” says Stephanie Mehta, editor-in-chief of Fast Company. “Our journalists, under the leadership of senior editor Morgan Clendaniel, have discovered some of the most groundbreaking projects that have launched since the start of 2020.”