Portugal: CEiiA tapped by Google to join ‘Impact Challenge on Climate’ programme

Portugal’s CEiiA has been selected by US tech giant Google to take part in the programme ‘Impact Challenge on Climate’ with its sustainability platform AYR, which rewards carbon-neutral behaviours in transport. 

As CEiiA explains in a statement, AYR is “a sustainability platform that rewards people and communities for not emitting carbon dioxide (CO2) – rather than making them pay for their emissions – by enabling the creation of local voluntary carbon markets in which green digital credits circulate as ‘green tokens’.

“Users can exchange these credits for other services and businesses can offset their carbon footprint locally, helping to accelerate the global transition to carbon-neutral cities,” it says.

Over the next three months, CEiiA and 10 other entities from other countries are to work with Google.org’s Impact Challenge on Climate team, before spending the next two years working to scale up AYR in cities around the world.

In a statement, Google’s head of Europe, Middle East and Africa and Asia Pacific regions, Rowan Barnett, said that the company had received an “impressive” number of applications for the programme but that it was “convinced” by the innovative concept of AYR, which is that “citizens, communities and businesses are rewarded for sustainable mobility behaviours” – so laying “the first stone” for the implementation of local voluntary carbon markets. 

Google is, Barnett says, “very excited” to support CEiiA to further develop the AYR platform and work with the Portugal-based team.

CEiiA’s chief executive, José Rui Felizardo, described the programme as “a great opportu nity for Portugal and for CEiiA” that would reinforce their “active contribution” to the “planetary challenge associated with climate change”. 

It would, he said, “boost our AYR platform and gives us the possibility to work closely with various partners around the world.”

Impact Challenge on Climate is a programme set up to fund disruptive ideas that use technologies to accelerate the advent of a greener and more resilient future, with the organisations selected to receive bespoke funding and support from Google to help bring their ideas to life.

CEiiA is an engineering and development centre based in Matosinhos, near Porto, that designs, develops and produces new technologies, products and services for a more sustainable society. It is among Portugal’s biggest investors in R&D and works closely with industry and universities in high-tech sectors such as automotive and mobility, aeronautics, ocean and space.

In the field of transport, CEiiA has been working for more than 15 years on the development of new concepts, technologies, products and services, from automotive development through electric mobility to mobility-as-a-service. 

Currently, the centre is working on the concept of sustainability-as-a-service and developing new technologies to create new services and business models for the emergence of carbon-neutral cities.