Home » Uncategorized » THE GREEN CHALLENGE, MY ENTRY


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Tell us who you are in 100 words or less *

I see myself as a philosopher, a builder, an adventurer and above all an entrepreneur.   I’m not a university graduate; I learned most of my skills through practice and side-study after work. From maintenance worker I became operator and a few years later plant manager first in the electroplating industry, later in the polymer industry. At the age of 35 I took my first job as operational director at a galvanizing plant.  Since the age of 40 (17 years ago) I’m self-employed.

 3.     Your idea/service/product

In which category do you wish to submit your idea?

Energy/ICT/Lifestyle/Mobility/Design/Cradle to cradle

Summarize your idea in 100 words(100 words)


My Idea originated from a quote of Albert Einstein; “Any intelligent fool can make things bigger, more complex, and more violent. It takes a touch of genius — and a lot of courage — to move in the opposite direction.” 

Global Warming is not only about CO2 levels; Global warming is also about economic growth. The key is to balance the environmental challenges with economic demands.

Copy URL of your elevator pitch here


What is your business proposition?*(250 words)

The introduction of so called ‘green energy’ and all developments towards energy saving will reduce the emissions of CO2, none of these techniques will reduce the amount. Only the introduction of CO2 absorbing systems will actually remove it out of the atmosphere . 

We already know that the best method to do so is by planting trees. If a tree grows it uses CO2, a process what stops during wintertime. To get the best results, these trees should be planted in the tropics because in the tropics they will grow all year round.

However there is a problem. Countries situated in the tropics are developing countries, their priorities aren’t exactly on par with ours, and they want economic growth. Their fast growing population also creates the demand for more farmland. Environmental issues like CO2 reduction are not on the top of their priority list.

The speed of deforestation is progressing at a much higher rate than any counteracting forestation program. The underlying reasons for this is the economics and cash-flow, chopping down a tree means money the next day while planting a tree requires years to generate any revenue.

The only way to stop this process is through a better economic alternative. The key is to balance the environmental challenges with economic and social demands. My plan is to create a new type of plantation forest what will be multifunctional; capturing CO2 and at the same time produce food to create income as soon as six months after start.

What makes your product/service special?(250 words)

The goal is to achieve a higher yield per hectare than a palm-oil plantation or a rice field. By creating multiple streams of income we create a plantation forest what is far more profitable.

Besides planting trees for CO2 reduction we focus on food production. 10% of the area will be used for aquaponics. This is a system of soil-less growing of vegetables in combination with fish-farming whereas the fish provide the nutrients for the crops. By showing that planting trees in combination with an aquaponics system can be very profitable we will start a complete new development.

The tree we are going to use is named Paulownia what is the fastest growing tree known. Between the trees that are planted in rows 10 meter apart there is place for this Aquaponics system.

We also will build a small transportable biochar kiln to convert the biomass into biochar.

This is a low cost project with high and fast return, at the moment the tree is planted it start doing his job as air purifier. 3 months after the aquaponic system is running we will have the first harvest.

The project is self-sustainable; profit will create revenue to develop the next plot.

The most beautiful aspect is that with projects like this everyone in the world receives a part of the result even if you don’t know about the existence of it. The effort is done local but the result (CO2 reduction) will be for the whole world.

Are there similar products/services being developed or on the market already? If so, what sets your idea apart? *(250 words)

Nothing is new, nothing has to be invented, and all information is already available for years to everyone on this planet who can Google.

This makes this idea so strong; the success rate is not depending about the technology behind it. It’s the economic approach by making the combination of forestry and aquaponics what will be new.

There are a few things what set this idea apart from anything else.

1.    The system should tackle a global issue (CO2 reduction in the atmosphere)

2.    The system should not be in competition with farmland (foodproduction)

3.    The system to use should be affordable and self-sustaining.

4.    The start-up cost should be low, the yield should be high.

5.     As much as possible people should have returns from such a system.

6.    The system should be reliable.

7.    The system should be able to grow without new capital injections.

8.    The system should create jobs.

It’s like a gigantic puzzle where all pieces fit perfectly.

Indonesia has plenty of land available for tree planting. Last few decades millions of hectare forest has been harvested for its timber or to establish palm oil plantations.  Not all the land is used for plantations or other farmland. Only the island Kalimantan has more than 14 million hectare of so called degraded low carbon land.

Imagine this; 14 million hectare tree plantation can offset more than half of the Dutch carbon emission and at the same time produce more food than 30 million hectares farmland.

Have you filed for a patent? If so, where? * (250 words)

Everything what has to do with the environment should be open source. We are talking about our world and everyone who can contribute or has idea’s to make our world better should not hide his or her invention behind a wall of patents.

Describe your product in an elaborate way *(250 words)

Our goal is capturing and storing carbon therefore we plan to use the fastest growing tree the world has to offer. Paulownia, with its rapidly developing root system, is extremely suitable to forest plots at risk of erosion.

The fast growth of the tree is extremely suitable for producing in a short time large quantities of biomass. One of the most perspective applications is to convert this biomass into bio char. The cheap and easy obtaining of biomass is possible because the following features of paulownia:

– It does not require replanting; even at low cutting. The young tree grows from the log and it will grow even faster because the root system of the tree is already developed.

– The stem may be cut at any time – not caught up with seasons and limits to harvest.

Bio-mass or Bio-charcoal will create income after one year maximum two years.  After a few rotations the tree can grow for its timber (7/10 years)

Aquaponics is a sustainable food production system that combines conventional aquaculture, (raising aquatic animals such as fish, crayfish or prawns in tanks), with hydroponics (cultivating plants in water) in a symbiotic environment. In aquaculture, effluents accumulate in the water, increasing toxicity for the fish. This water is led to a hydroponic system where the by-products from the aquaculture are broken down by nitrogen-fixing bacteria, then filtered out by the plants as nutrients, after which the cleaned water is returned to the fish-tank..

How will your product/service reduce greenhouse gas emissions? *(250 words)

Trees absorb CO2 from the atmosphere. Trees retain the carbon portion of the CO2 molecule to build their structures, and exhale most of the oxygen.  A little chemistry to explain; the atomic weight for carbon is 12, for oxygen is 16, and so for CO2 is 44. One ton of carbon storage in the forest therefore represents removal of 44/12, or 3.67 ton of CO2 greenhouse gas from the atmosphere, and the release of 2.67 ton of oxygen back into the atmosphere.

One hectare of trees will generate 6 ton dry mass per year, which will generate around 2.4 ton carbon.  After a few rotations we will let a part (600) of the trees grow for the timber with a yield of 2.5 Cbm  per tree. On average the consumption of CO2 will be 9000 kg per hectare / year.

Above rates are based on the average of North American or European trees. Because we grow Paulownia in the tropics these estimates are far below the expected result.

The beautiful part is that the effect of CO2 reduction is measurable until the last kg. Just by monitoring the amount of biomass and timber we produce we can calculate the exact amount. Beside this we are talking about establishment at so called low carbon land. By planting trees there we will stop further degrading and release of CO2.

Explain the production process and development process. * (250 words)

The process is simple and straight forward.

·         Preparation

¨      Building the biochar kiln

¨      Building the plant nursery

·         Start face 1.

¨      Clearing of land

¨      Organic material converting to biochar

¨      Start sawing seeds (germination time 3 weeks)

¨      Building the aquaponics system

·         Start face 2.

¨      The biochar produced from the clearing will be used as filter and bacteria grow medium in the grow beds of the aquaponics system.

¨      Introduction of water and fish in the aquaponics system.

¨      Seedlings transfer to bigger pots

·         Start face 3.

¨      After establishment of bacterial system introduction of plants in the aquaponics system in steps to avoid harvest of all at the same time.

¨      Planting the young trees

·         Growing face.

¨      Feeding the fish

¨      Controlling water parameters

¨      Watering trees (if necessary)

¨      General maintenance and control

·         Harvesting

¨      After 3 months continuous harvesting process for the aquaponics system.

¨      Replace grown fish for new.

¨      After one year cutting all trees for biomass

¨      Converting biomass to biochar

¨      Processing biochar to added value products like water filters, soil enhancer etc.

¨      After 2 or 3 rotations 50 % of the trees will be removed, the rest will be grown for its timber (7 to 10 years)

Resources we need are all locally available. Timber, cement, stone, bamboo etc. Most of the work will be done by manual labor. Machinery like excavator will be hired for temporary use only.

How, when and where will you develop your product/service? * (250 words)

This project is a personal initiative; I realize that success of this project is dependent on the drive of the people who run the scheme. To motivate them they will receive partnership.

The idea is to start with an area of 50 hectares divided in 50 plots of one hectare each. I will start small by developing one hectare. One hectare means 1200 trees, 1000 m2 growing bed and a 10.000 liter fish tank. This will give fulltime employment for 20 people. One hectare will create enough revenue to develop the next year 2 hectares.

What works for one hectare of land also works for one million times that much; instead of building one huge plantation, the idea is to create millions of small plantations managed and partially owned by one or two families. This fits perfectly within the trans-migration plans from the Indonesian government.

If successful  this project  will grow like a snowball, one hectare becomes 3, 3 hectare becomes 7 and 7 hectare becomes 15 then 31,63,127, etc. like an upside down pyramid, we start slow but it will grow faster and faster, always controllable because one hectare creates the next two, this gives time to educate the new participants.

At this time I am in the pre-development stage. The biochar kiln is developed and is running tests. A small aquaponics system is running under extreme conditions. Germination process of paulownia is in progress.

January 2014 I will start a pilot project of one hectare.

Why is your idea going to change the world? *(250 words)

If we really want and believe in it, we can achieve great goals.

 I ordered a few thousand Paulownia seeds, I received a refund and more than a million seeds from someone I don’t know.  Only because she read my blog and believed what I was telling.

Stand still for a moment and think of what is happening.  We ask countries in the tropics to produce all kinds of stuff like shoes, clothes, furniture, and electronics, only because of their cheap labor cost. Farmers are transformed into factory workers. This is one of the reasons why the most fruitful land on earth is laying bare.  People run to the cities looking for a better life.

In the meantime we are trying to produce under the wrong conditions; we need glasshouses, heating etc. for plants and vegetables which are not even supposed to grow in Northern Europe or America.

Our factories are empty, whole industries don’t exist anymore.  Our demand for cheap and more has put the world up site down.  Industrialized countries are exporting corn, wheat, rice and vegetables.  From origin agriculture countries exporting products previously made at home.  You only need to think about a company like Phillips and you understand.

My plan is more than just another environmental improvement method or apparatus; my plan is about changing the world by creating the right jobs at the right place.

I believe I can change the world, everyone can.

We are looking for products and/or services that can be on the market in two years’ time. What is the time schedule on the development and market introduction of your product? And are you in a position to fully dedicate your time and energy to your company? *(250 words)

Everyone can make beautiful business plans and produce spreadsheets with all kinds of data. You don’t have to invent it anymore just download them and fill in the blanks.

The problem is those plans don’t work longer than one day, the next day everything is different because there are always circumstances you can’t think of on fore-hand.

My business plan is as simple as what I try to achieve. I don’t care how I get the result as long I have result.

The target is to transform 14 million hectare low carbon land into plantation forest.  To reach the 14 million hectare I need to start with planting the first tree. I don’t have to wait for anyone; I can start it all by myself.

This first tree will be in the ground before January 2014. Because I’m free-lancer I can decide for myself how much time, money and effort I put into this project. My feeling tells me that as soon the first plot is up and running (medium 2014) capital will come.

Seeing is believing, at the moment I can show it’s not a dream but a fact, people will follow. I will raise money from overseas business partners. I will sell image improvement to companies. What better advertisement for a company than saying they participate to make the world a better place.

I know what I want from my system and I know where I want to go, that’s all I need.

Please upload one high-resolution image or screenshot of your product/service. If you click “Save” at the bottom of the form, the file will be attached to your entry.

4.     Your people

Introduce yourself, your qualities, and motivate why you are the person to realise this idea in a successful way. * (250 words)

Most of my introduction is already explained under personal information, I will not repeat these.  What I didn’t mention I own a company in Indonesia. This company is sleeping (not active) It’s possible to use my company for this project. I’m married and my wife is Indonesian.  My skills are enough to pull a project like this. I have more than 25 years overseas experience.

My qualities are; natural authority (people are willing to work for me) I have overview, see connections and relations and have the automatic behavior to anticipate to changing circumstances. According to a psychology test I once did they classified me as type guru.

It’s my idea, I’m living in Indonesia for more than 10 years, have a network of connections in the timber industry and know what is going-on. Together with my above mentioned experience, skills and drive I’m the perfect person for a project like this.

Who is on your team, and how are you organised? * (250 words)

My team is my wife and her family (Indonesian) beside that half of the population of the village where she is born is looking for a job. All farmers with Jungle experience.

I don’t need Indonesians to explain how to clear land and build plantations, that’s their life. They only need a little bit help and the connection with the rest of the world.

We will start with a small group of 20 people to develop the first hectare. We will use the revenue (starting after 6 months) to cover the cost and to develop the next two hectares the year after.

To do so we invite a group of 40 people, so the second year we will work with a group of 60 people who are developing 2 hectares and maintain 1 hectare. During this time the first group of 20 people will educate the second group.

By multiplying every year the developing process will go faster and faster, the amount of new participants will always be manageable because one person will educate a maximum of two newbie’s. 

The organization will be in the form of cooperation whereas participants will receive 75% of the revenue of their plot. This will happen after a period of two or three years.

The other 25% will be used to cover general expenses. With the expected revenue in mind everyone should be able to create an income of $500 per month. (Double the salary of a factory worker)


Have you involved technical and/or financial partners? *(250 words)

At this time there is no need for any technical or financial partners. Of course at a later stage we can use all the help we can get. When the first plantations are running we need infrastructure, roads, housing, schools,hospitals etc.

What other stakeholders will be involved in your business? * (250 words)

In the beginning it will only be my wife and her family. At a later stage we need to deal with local authorities because they rule the land. Most of the land is owned by local government.

This project is in line with the ideas of the national Indonesian government. Overpopulation at Java, especial in cities as Jakarta and Surabaya is already a problem.

The Indonesian government already promotes trans-migration to the other islands.

5.     Market, marketing and sales

Specify your target market and why you selected this specific market * (250 words)

Keep in mind here that our goal is to reduce CO2 out of the atmosphere so in that way the whole world is our market.

To create fast revenue the plantation will produce, fish and vegetables.  Most profitable are varieties of Chinese cabbage, lettuce, basil, tomatoes, okra, cantaloupe and bell peppers.

These products will be sold locally and at a later stage to the standard supply channels.

Timber will be sold at the international market as FSC timber.

Biochar has many options, it can be used for soil enhancer or with a higher value upgraded to use as filter media as cheap and environmental friendly alternative for water filtration. This product can be sold local, national or at the international market.

Describe the structure of your target market * (250 words)

My target market is the whole world. Everyone on this planet will sooner or later feel the effect of global warming. I don’t pretend that this project will stop global warming; however it will contribute towards a better world.

I wish I was able to describe the structure of our world, who is in charge and who are rolling the dice. Unfortunately I can’t so I will not spend time and energy towards it.

Describe the market size and the market potential for your product or service in this target market. *(250 words)

In the year 2011 the total world CO2 emission was 31.6 billion ton; one Paulownia tree will capture around 7 to 10 Kg CO2 per year.  I think we don’t need to discuss the market potential.

The demand for food is only rising because of the fast growing population. At the moment we have a small family farm, growing rice, corn, peanuts, coffee and cacao.  Far before harvest traders already are knocking on the door to buy our product.

Biochar is a new product not sold yet at the local market.

Timber will be sold at the international market as construction timber.

Maybe the most important product is the new jobs this project will create. This is exact in line with the trans-migration planes from the Indonesian government. Java island is with more than 200 million people over-populated.

 What will your product or service cost? * (250 words)

Our sales target is to sell everything we are able to produce. Because of the high demand this never will be a problem.

Pricing: Our sales price is depending on world and local market price. This project can be suitable for exchange of carbon credits, however with the value of $10 per ton this is not really a drive.

For Biochar the world price is around $450 per ton, if we upgrade the product to filter media the price will be around $3500 per ton.

Timber will be sold at the international market for a price of $950 per cbm. (one cbm product per tree)

We will offer the trees for sponsorship at $5.00 per tree.

Average price of tomatos is around $2.50 per Kg.

Average price of fish is $8 per Kg

How will you inform your (potential) customers about your product? * (250 words)

At the moment I’m doing not much more than spreading the word trough the social media like facebook, twitter and wordpress. My overseas contacts and business partners know and are willing to support if the project is up and running.

Joining contests like The Green Challenge is also a way to promote my work.

6.     SWOT analysis of your product/service

Strengths *(4000 characters)

·         Trees are the best way to remove CO2 out the atmosphere.

o   Calculating with a Carbon Credit price of $10 per ton a tree is the only way to remove one ton CO2 out the atmosphere with a cost below $10

o   We will grow on so called low-carbon land and stop further degrading.

·         Low initial investment.

o   The price of land is as low as $500 per hectare or is available for free (conditions apply)

o   Estimate investment for one hectare plantation with 1000m2 aquaponic system will be around $35.000

·         Modular build-up.

o   Depending on financial backup plots from one hectare can be easy multiplied or if necessary divided in plots of one acre.

·         Reliable because the use of existing technologies.

o   There are shiploads of information available about aquaponics and how to run the system.

o   Indonesia has a long tradition and experience (Dutch) how to establish and run plantations.

·         Able to grow without further capital injections.

o   Already after 3 to 6 months the first income will be generated, this will be sufficient to pay for the running cost (salaries, electricity, etc.) as well generate revenue to finance next development.

·         Not in competition with farmland.

o   In contrary to a timber or palm-oil plantation this plantation will produce fish and vegetables.  The function of the trees is in the first place capturing CO2.

·         High yield.

o   One 300 square meter aquaponic system can yield the same vegetable crop as 1HA of soil.  Over and above this about 5-8 tons pa of high quality protein (the fish) is also produced. We are planning to install 1000 m2 system per hectare.

Weaknesses (4000 characters)

·         There are a few reasons why so much land is laying bare without something is happening.

o   Location.  This was formal rainforest; there are no roads or infrastructure. It is no point to create production of fish and vegetables if we are not able to transport the product fast to the market place.


o   Low dense population, there are no villages or towns only small communities. If we want to transform thousands or millions of hectare we need a workforce of thousands or millions. All those people need to migrate back from Java or other islands.


o   There is no housing, no schools, no healthcare.


o   An aquaponics system need electricity and water this will not always be available, to be self-supporting we will need to produce our own electricity.


·         Corruption.

o   Far away from the general government in Jakarta we need to deal with the local authorities to accomplish our planes.  These authorities putting their personal or local interest often above national interest.

o   We need to calculate with the fact that for everything a so called government fee is required.


Opportunities *(4000 characters)

·         High and regular revenue.

o   Aquaponics is soil-less intensive farming. Vegetables will be biological grown, free of pesticides. Harvest will be the whole year around without caring for wet or dry season.

·         Location

o   With an average temperature of 28 degrees the whole year, a high humidity, and an annual rainfall of more than 1 meter, this is the place to grow crops and trees.  Millions of hectare suitable land is available today; this should be transformed into the lungs for the world, and at the same time the garden of the world.

·         Job creation.

o   It will direct create jobs for everyone who works at the farming process (20 people per Hectare) it will create jobs fit to the skills of the Indonesians because they are farmers, not factory workers.

o   Indirect it will create jobs in logistics, warehousing, transportation and timber industry.

o   Last few decades millions of people migrated to the big cities at Java Island by creating employment at other islands this process of migration can be stopped and / or reversed.

Threats *(4000 characters)

·         People

o   The project is depending on people who not live in the area. People must be willing to move and build-up a new life.

o   We will involve as much as possible the local families first, however that will not be enough. Tensions between locals and migrants can be expected.

o   Jalousie is often a cause of disruption what can lead to sabotage or worse.

o   Short vision, long term planning is not common for most of the people in Indonesia.

o   Productivity, the output per person will be much lower than we use to in the western world, motivation in all forms will be necessary to get production to good levels.

o   Stealing. Indonesians are good in creating a business within a business. A good control and security will be unavoidable.

·         Climate

o   Rain can change the landscape in matter of hours; plantations can be unreachable for days during the raining season.

o   A tropical storm can wipeout whole plantations especial in the early stage. Flooding, landslides, earthquakes, volcano eruptions, everything is possible.


Financing and other support

How much money do you require to realise your idea? * (250 words)

I don’t need money to start my Idea, everything is already in progress. The project is self sustainable and will self-finance its growth. The question in my case is different. I ask the world what the value of this plan is.

The estimated cost to establish one hectare plantation will be $40.000 and the running cost another $40.000 per year. The estimated revenue will be $120.000 what will lead to enough funds to develop the second plot of one hectare the year after.

In theory it must be possible to double every year the size of the plantation. This means this small start of one hectare can grow in 25 years time into a plantation of more than 16 million hectare.


I don’t need help, Indonesia needs help.

This is a project for the world, it should be carried-out by the world. There is nothing, no roads, no people, no rainforest.  Bring in expertise from China to build in a short time infrastructure, Australia, the USA , Canada and Europe can give their help and expertise how Indonesia has to convert  this land into intensive plantation forestry. The Netherlands can help with water management; all countries can do something to get this project done.

What will you do with the prize money if you win the Postcode Lottery Green Challenge? * 

I guess that this project will be a serious candidate to win this year’s challenge, I don’t have much time to think what to do with an extra 500.000 Euro because I just found-out about the existence of this challenge 3 days ago. 

I will use the money towards the project and use a part to buy land. I will not start with much more than one hectare to keep everything controllable.

Another part I will use to build housing and a school / visitor center.  A price of 500.000 Euro will certainly help to create a solid base to start with.

How did you find out about the Postcode Lottery Green Challenge?

I found this green challenge contest by accident when I was browsing the internet to find an answer for the best way to germinate  paulownia seeds.

Last year we received many inquiries from external parties such as investors interested in the Postcode Lottery Green Challenge participants. May we feature your idea on this website after the competition ends and/or share your contact details, business plans, images and videos with interested organisations or for promotional purposes? * 



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