Air Liquide has revealed the three winners of its 2018 Scientific Challenge.

The Tier One corporation received 132 proposals from teams of researchers, start-ups and private or public institutes in 34 different countries, aimed at improving air quality and fighting climate change using the essential small molecules, such as oxygen, nitrogen, hydrogen and carbon dioxide.

Each of the three winners has been awarded a €50,000 ($57,000) grant and has signed a partnership with Air Liquide that will enable them to receive €1.5m in funding, shared between the three projects, to develop their scientific proposals and transform them into market-ready technologies.

For each topic, the winners are:

  • Lower-CO2 H2 – How to produce cost competitive hydrogen while reducing greenhouse gas emissions?

    José Manuel Serra Alfaro from the Instituto de Tecnología Química (a joint research centre created by the Universitat Politècnica de València and the Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Científicas) in Spain.

    The partnership will focus on the development of a new process using a reactor membrane to produce purified H2 in a single step.
  • H2 is coming – How to use hydrogen to avoid greenhouse gas and air pollutant emissions in fossil fuel based industrial processes?

    Christophe Coperet from the ETH Zurich in Switzerland.

    The partnership will focus on the development of efficient catalysts for the use of H2 and CO2 to produce methanol.
  • Sustainable Farm to Fork – Can the dietary needs of 7.6 billion people be met in an affordable, healthy and sustainable manner?

    Wenbiao Shen from the Nanjing Agricultural University in China.

    The partnership will focus on the use of water enriched with H2 in agriculture to reduce the use of fertilisers and pesticides.

François Darchis, Senior Vice-President and member of the Air Liquide Group Executive Committee, supervising Innovation, said, “This scientific challenge strengthens the group’s cooperation with the international scientific community (universities, institutes of technology, laboratories).”

“It perfectly illustrates the group’s open innovation approach. This challenge enables us to continue expanding our knowledge related to essential small molecules, with the aim to invent new solutions reducing carbon footprint and addressing the key challenges facing society.”