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The Air Liquide Scientific Challenge: photos and highlights from the event with our 3 winners

Published on February 16, 2024

3 minutes

The Air Liquide Scientific Challenge is a call for proposals that is open to the international scientific community (universities, industry, start-ups, etc.), based on an open innovation approach, focusing on sharing knowledge to encourage collaborative ventures outside the company. Meet the 3 winners of the 2023 edition and learn more on their innovative projects.

“I can’t wait to work together with Air Liquide’s researchers on innovative ideas,” said Can Li, a researcher from the United States, when he was awarded the Air Liquide Scientific Prize. Enrico Tronconi, Luis Miguel Madeira and he were all honored at the 2023 Air Liquide Scientific Challenge awards ceremony, held at the end of last year. 

We went to meet them and hear their thoughts. They were rewarded for their research, which is helping identify and accelerate the development of innovative solutions to decarbonize industrial ecosystems. This 3rd edition was a great success, with its call for proposals attracting no fewer than 119 proposals from 29 countries!

The awards ceremony of the Air Liquide Scientific Challenge was held in two stages, in the United States and in Paris at the Innovation Campus, attended by the winners, R&D employees, members of the panel of judges, chaired by Jérôme Christin, Vice-President of the Group’s Research & Development, and Armelle Levieux, Vice-President of Innovation and a member of Air Liquide’s Executive Committee. This was an opportunity to meet and talk with the three winners to learn more about their projects.

In the Energy Storage using Essential Small Molecules category, the challenge was to develop new processes for storing and reusing energy. Luis Miguel Madeira from the University of Porto in Portugal won this award. He and his team have developed a technology to produce synthetic methane from CO2 captured on industrial sites and from renewable hydrogen. Luis Miguel Madeira welcomed the award as recognition of his work and commitment to scientific research. Find out more about this innovative initiative in this interview with Luis Miguel Madeira and Régis Réau, Scientific Director at Air Liquide.

Can Li at the University of Purdue in the United States was the winner of the Data Sharing for Decarbonization category; he explained his algorithm project, which addresses the issue of secure and confidential data sharing while enabling industrial optimization and reduced CO2 emissions.

To better understand this innovative project, watch his interview with Régis Réau.

In the Electric Heating for Hydrogen Production category, the challenge was to reduce CO2 emissions linked to the high-temperature hydrogen production process. Enrico Tronconi of the Polytechnic University of Milan in Italy won this award for his project to efficiently electrify the steam methane reforming, using a new process based on resistive heating. This innovation could accelerate the production of low-carbon hydrogen. “We have produced a new configuration for SMR reactors which we look forward to developing jointly with Air Liquide”, Enrico Tronconi said. Learn more in this interview with Enrico Tronconi and Régis Réau.

All three winners received a grant of €50,000 and signed a three-year partnership to develop their innovative proposals and turn them into marketable technologies. Congratulations to the winners; we hope their projects will be successful!

This edition will help accelerate the development of pioneering technologies to drive progress and the transition to a low-carbon society, in keeping with Air Liquide’s strategic plan, ADVANCE.”

Find out more about the third edition of the Scientific Challenge in this interview with Armelle Levieux and Jérôme Christin: