Susteon and TeOra Win S$1 Million Prize Each at The Liveability Challenge 2023

With a doubling of the grand prize money this year, along with additional investment funding, the sustainability innovation challenge funded three teams with a total of S$2.6 million

Clean fuels venture Susteon and aquaculture vaccine developer TeOra have beat a record-breaking number of over 600 entries across 82 countries to each win S$1 million in grant funding at the grand finale of The Liveability Challenge (TLC) 2023.

United States-based Susteon is working on capturing point-source carbon emissions and utilising waste hydrogen to produce low-cost methane. Singapore-based TeOra is developing an orally delivered vaccine to prevent and treat scale-drop disease virus in farmed fish.

At this year’s edition of TLC held at Ecosperity Week 2023, these two solutions emerged as the top winners in the Climate Change and Food and Nutrition tracks for their sizable climate mitigation potential, forays in underinvested sectors and credibility of ideas through extensive testing and pilot projects.

The eight teams featured at the grand finale held at Sands Expo and Convention Centre were chosen after a rigorous selection process, and pitched their innovations live to a panel of established investors who also awarded investment prizes to three of the finalists.

Presented by Temasek Foundation and organised by Eco-Business, TLC is a global platform that searches for and supports the commercialisation of innovative and sustainable solutions to the challenges of urban cities.

Climate change is causing global temperatures to edge ever closer to the 1.5 degrees Celsius mark that scientists regard as a safety threshold for humanity. There is a two-thirds chance that the limit will be breached by 2027.  

Asia is already facing severe climate impacts – the disastrous summer floods of 2022 have made way for record heatwaves in April this year. At the same time, climate change is warming our oceans and making it more acidic. Our marine ecosystems are under severe threat, exacerbated by overfishing and pollution. With rising constraints on land, water, and energy, food security has also risen to the top of the agenda.

Green finance and technological innovations, for both fighting climate change and adapting to its impacts, are urgently needed in the region.

This is why the 2023 edition of TLC focused on two tracks critical to making Asia’s cities more sustainable – climate change, as well as food and nutrition.

TLC worked with 70 organisations across the globe to crowdsource the best sustainability ideas and offer support to emerging start-ups. After a six-month search for the best sustainability solutions, two steering committees convened to select the best start-ups in each track.

Representing various countries such as Israel, the Philippines, Singapore, and the United States, the eight finalist teams — the highest number in TLC’s history — were shortlisted for their innovative solutions on climate change, and food and nutrition. The finalists underwent a month of coaching to further refine their pitches.

The judging panel was impressed with the teams’ efforts in advancing cutting-edge science, crafting business models that leverage the clean-tech ecosystem in Singapore, and their potential to scale at a global level.

“We were very impressed by all the innovative proposals, and excited about the prospects of big-scale, megatonne-level carbon emissions abatement,” said Steve Melhuish, entrepreneur and impact investor at Planet Rise, who was part of the judging panel.

“Winning The Liveability Challenge brings recognition to our work and enables us to bring futuristic solutions into reality today. We are now taking a big step up from working with shrimps to fish. If we can prove the technology works, there is almost unlimited potential for scale-up,” said Dr Rishita Changede, Founder of TeOra.

“With all our expertise that we have developed in addressing carbon dioxide emissions, we will be able to both reduce Singapore’s carbon footprint and create a new business opportunity. We will be scaling up our prototype from a bench-scale to a pilot-scale unit, which will eventually allow us to deploy our technology in refineries,” said Dr Raghubir Gupta, President of Susteon.

“Temasek Foundation congratulates Susteon and TeOra for being crowned the two grand winners of the sixth edition of The Liveability Challenge (TLC),” said Mr Lim Hock Chuan, Head of Programmes at Temasek Foundation.

“By producing low-cost natural gas from carbon dioxide captured at point-sources, Susteon’s proposal is a potential game-changer by reducing 20 per cent of Singapore's total carbon emissions, while contributing to energy security. We are also excited about the prospects of enhanced food security, safety and resource efficiency, brought about by TeOra’s vaccine technology. Besides treating seabass, it can also develop vaccines for other fish which will significantly reduce disease-related mortality in aquaculture systems,” Mr Lim said.

“Susteon and TeOra join the select group of TLC winners innovating on disruptive technologies to tackle sustainability and climate change, and we look forward to communities benefitting from them successfully scaling up their innovations,” he added.

"Climate risks and food security are two of the most pressing issues Asian cities will face in the coming years. It is crucial that we channel finance and provide support to the breakthrough innovations that address the unique characteristics and challenges faced by the region. This continues to be the core mission of The Liveability Challenge, which in its sixth edition has more than doubled the funding prize from when it started,” said Ms Jessica Cheam, Founder and Managing Director of Eco-Business.

"I am confident that Asia can grow equitably and sustainably, if we can keep up the dedication and ingenuity shown by the participants, partners and stakeholders of the Challenge this year,” she said.