The atmosphere was incredible at Monday’s final of the Philips Innovation Award, in a sold out Rotterdamse Schouwburg. GBM Works, a wind energy startup by two students from Delft, won the Innovation Award 2017.

An inspiring event organized by students of the Rotterdamse Studenten Corps in collaboration with Philips and other leaders of big corporates, allowed entrepreneurial minded students to pitch their start-up in three minutes.

The People’s Choice Award is of course nice to have, but the final was all about taking the 50,000 euros home to invest into the start-up. “Off shore wind farms are trending, especially in the Netherlands, we have 2,200 of them, and they seem to be the future of energy production.

Deafening to sea animals

“What is often forgotten, is that placing these turbines in the ocean can deafen sea animals, causing them to not be able to communicate anymore. It costs 300,000 euros extra per turbine if we want to produce less noise. At GBM Works, we believe to have found the solution.”, Ben Arntz, co-founder of GBM told EM.

GBM Works has developed a new silent and cost-effective method to install offshore wind turbine foundations, starting in the Netherlands with the ambition to go internationally. It solves the issue of sea life going deaf, but it is also a sustainable solution, as it can save hundreds of thousands of euro’s per turbine. With the award, GBM Works looks to invest into their next prototype of their project, as this can cost incredible amounts of financing.

“This is an incredible feeling, and I am very thankful to everyone on our side”, Arntz said after winning the award. “Being on stage in this final was already an incredible accomplishment, but winning, I have no words. Thank you to everyone”, his partner Nick Noordam said. Both were off to celebrate with friends and family. Back to work? Not until tomorrow.

Dutch necessity

Max, first year International Business Administration student, was also at the event He believes the winning idea is very important for the energy transition of the Netherlands. “This country is really becoming dependent on innovation and I believe GBM Works brought forward the best idea, showing how they could transform knowledge, expertise and an important Dutch necessity into an innovative company.