Deutsches Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt / German Aerospace Center

DLR Environment, Energy & Health Challenge

DLR is looking for innovative solutions that use Earth observation (EO) data to support sustainable management of our limited natural resources and foster human well-being.


Stay tuned! One of these finalists will become the DLR Environment, Energy & Health Challenge winner!

AquaLab. Preserve Water!
AquaLab is a web-based geographic information and notification system for water reservoir management. It intends to solve water managerial problems in Bulgaria and the surrounding region and later provide EO services to greater Europe. Artificial water reservoirs are of paramount importance because they provide fresh water for irrigation purposes and society at large. AquaLab thus addresses the lack of a dynamic platform for indicating changes in water and informing society and institutions about potential water crises. The system uses Sentinel-1 and Sentinel-2 data for water surface extraction while providing statistical information on the area at hand (including changes in water volume). AquaLab also presents predictive models based on machine learning techniques and the fusion of EO and in-situ data for precise volume computation. The advantages of AquaLab lie in its uniqueness in Bulgaria and its region. The platform provides the possibility to upload and store in-situ data on hydraulic or geodetic measurements concerning water reservoirs. It will bridge the gaps between institutions by serving as an online repository of geospatial information.

Paulina Raeva

CQuest – Carbon Made Simple
By processing Sentinel-1 (SAR) and Sentinel-2 (optical) data with machine learning algorithms, CQuest and the DLR have built a prototype that provides advanced carbon analytics while reducing the costs of establishing carbon offsets through nature-based climate solutions (NCS).
NCS have the potential to sequester 30% of the atmospheric CO2 needed to keep global temperatures from rising by 1.5 degrees. Forestry and sustainable land use projects of this kind encourage and support natural processes that sequester carbon from the atmosphere into vegetation and soil, thereby reducing the harmful effects of greenhouse gases in our atmosphere and regenerating degraded landscapes around the world. Healthier vegetation and soil result in an increased resistance to extreme climate conditions such as floods, droughts, and fires, and they also improve food security. Unfortunately, these powerful tools remain underutilised due to necessarily complex monitoring mandates in the carbon markets that are executed largely by hand and constitute up to 25% of the operating costs of an average NCS project.
CQuest and the DLR plan to provide insights that enhance current monitoring practices by delivering carbon analytics from space at a reduced cost.

Stefan Gönner

From Space to the Subsurface
Survey Intelligence utilises knowledge of modelling and monitoring the subsurface of the Earth for the energy sector by combining it with Copernicus satellite data in order to tackle climate change. There is enormous potential in combining remote sensing satellite data with seismic data to understand and forecast ground deformation. Moreover, large geoological formations have the potential to store large volumes of fluids, with minimal impact on the environment and society. This project will help continuously monitor the ground movement of these underground energy reservoirs, including for thermal and hydrogen energy storage. The Survey Intelligence platform will also aid energy companies in monitoring potential hazards, thereby increasing security and reducing the risk of damage and incidents. It will make sure that the safety of society is not compromised and the impact on the environment is minimal.

Maud van Ees

The Challenge

In the light of global change, pandemics as well as climate change a sustainable management of our planets resources is more important than ever. DLR is looking for innovative solutions to achieve this goal. Areas of particular interest to DLR are:

  • Environmental Management: Identifying environmental issues and managing natural resources
  • Sustainable Resource Management: Monitoring and improving the use of natural resources, as well as generation, distribution, or consumption of energy
  • Health Promotion: Identifying, monitoring and / or providing solutions avoiding negative environmental factors affecting human health or mitigating epidemic impacts.

Besides using EO satellite data from Copernicus and DLR missions, participants are encouraged to supplement their ideas with other sources of data, such as information generated by crowd-sourcing, social media or in-situ measurements. Solutions should support professionals working in these areas, inform the public, or empower public authorities to take action and solve issues on a local, national, or global scale.

Prizes 2020



EUR 5,000

Satellite Data

Possibility to access EUR 10,000 worth of commercial datasets from the Copernicus Contributing Missions in the Copernicus Data Warehouse (financial support by EC)
Extra EUR 10,000 Cash Prize if your concept gets selected as Copernicus Masters 2020 Overall Winner
Additional Prize


Submissions to DLR Environment, Energy & Health Challenge will be assessed against the following criteria:

Benefit for society

Does the idea foster human wellbeing, health and/or sustainable resource management?

Copernicus Relevance

How significant is the use of sentinel satellite data for realisation of the idea?


What is in particular new about the idea?

User acceptance

Is the idea of practical use to users or the general public? Would they use it?


Is the idea technically feasible?

About DLR

The Earth Observation Center (EOC) of the German Aerospace Center (DLR) works in all fields related to the development of algorithms and data analysis systems, as well as in the practical implementation of EO applications and services – from satellite data reception and near-real-time services to disaster monitoring and environmental mapping. As such, the EOC is involved in many aspects of Copernicus’s design, implementation, and operations. In determining the focal points of its research, DLR is to a large extent guided by the demand for innovative products and services developed in close cooperation with industry entities. It also invests in promising technologies and offers its research and development capacities to partners for their own use.


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