Air Liquide, a partner of the 2015 Hello Tomorrow Challenge, awards the Energy & Environment prize to the start-up BioCarbon Engineering.

After six months of competition, the five finalists in the Energy & Environment category – Biocarbon Engineering, PowerWindow, Saros, Solenica and Turbulent – met up at the conference held on June 25 and 26 at La Cité des Sciences et de l’Industrie in Paris before a panel, composed of judges representing Air Liquide, Total, and the CEA, among others, to convince them of the value and impact of their technology.

BioCarbon Engineering, which emerged as the winner in the Energy & Environment category, was awarded €15,000 in prize money by François Darchis, member of the Air Liquide Executive Committee in charge of innovation.

BioCarbon Engineering, a company that developed a seed planting drone to combat deforestation, also won the Hello Tomorrow Grand Prize. The goal of this English start-up is to use a fleet of drones to plant millions of saplings simultaneously, using a faster and less costly technology than those currently in use.

The Hello Tomorrow Challenge, open to young researchers and entrepreneurs from around the world, is designed to promote projects that combine science and technology around six tracks: Food & Agriculture, Energy & Environment, Transport & Mobility, Materials & Manufacturing, Healthcare, and Information Technologies & Security. Air Liquide sponsored the Energy & Environment category.

Launched in December of 2014, the Hello Tomorrow Challenge brought together more than 3,600 applicants from 90 countries, thanks in particular to its network of ambassadors, who promoted the initiative locally.

Throughout the competition, teams from Air Liquide worked closely with their counterparts at Hello Tomorrow. Group experts reviewed the 120 pre-selected start-ups based on criteria relevant to the proposed technology, the market potential, and the social impact. Once this phase was completed, the 30 start-ups short-listed for the Grand Finale at La Cité des Sciences et de l’Industrie were mentored by group employees (engineers, scientists, entrepreneurs).

A masterclass was led by group experts on the subjects of industrial property and intellectual property, giving the start-ups exactly what they needed to fully understand these issues.

The participation of Air Liquide in the Hello Tomorrow Challenge is aligned with the group’s open innovation approach. This challenge has enabled Air Liquide to detect several disruptive technologies, to identify potential collaborations, and to become part of the global ecosystem of innovation.