The Altran Foundation 2008 Award

Oct 28 •

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Eleven international scientific experts, members of the 2008 Altran Foundation’s Jury, got together to evaluate the 28 applications short-listed for the international scientific Award. This year, the theme is “Reducing CO2 levels in the atmosphere: our technological challenge”. During this meeting, 6 Finalists (3 French, 1 Spanish, 1 Dutch, 1 Italian) have been selected to remain in the competition and face the next step of the selection process: the presentation of their project to the jury on October, 24th during the Grand Oral. The name of the laureate will then be disclosed during the Award Ceremony in January 2009.

The 6 finalists:

Francisco GALLO MEJIA, Universidad del País Vasco UPV/EHU Basque’s Country University (San Sebastian Donostia, Spain)
Habitable Carbon Dioxide sink depot
Bamboo building composites for sustainable housing

This project is about developing architectural bio-composites based on Guadua angustifolia kunth Bamboo. Using this kind of composite requires less energy and water deployment than other materials like wood, metal, bricks, etc. In addition, this approach requires smaller machines and little transportation because the plantations are located close to the final use destination. Chemical and wood technologies will help to develop this system which is much more environmental friendly – recyclability, durability, insulation, low weight, plus high CO2 storing nature.

Olivier LÉPINE, AlgoSource Technologiescompany, partnership with JCL Environnement, Laboratoire GEPEA/CNRS (Nantes, France)
AlgoSource Technologies
Capturing CO2 with micro-alga
The AlgoSource Technologies project consists in capturing CO2 produced by industrial activity treat it for injection without concentration in microalgae culture systems to obtain a valuable biomass for different industries: food, green chemistry, energy… The biomass is processed in bio-refineries, in which all the resource is used. Industrial microalgae production allows replacing fossil carbon, which increases CO2 concentration in the atmosphere, by a carbon neutral renewable resource.

Christian MULLER, Holtzheim, Cooltech Applications (Holtzheim, France)
Reversible air-conditioning magneto-caloric for housing
The Cooltech Applications Company is developing a system of car reversible air-conditioning based on a technological rupture – magneto-caloric effect. Subject to magnetic alternation, the specific inter-metallic alloy warms up and then cools down following repetitive cycles. MagCool project consists in adapting this application to housing air-conditioning. This innovative technology is based on a reversible system of magneto-caloric and totally ecologic air-conditioning with no cooling gaz and high energetic efficiency. The result consists in a decrease of energy consumption and CO2 emission of power plant.

Arnaud MULLER-FEUGA, Microphyt (Montpellier, France)
Produce microalgae biomass without CO2 release
The project aims at turning any confined photosynthetic system into an integral sink of CO2 contributing efficiently to the bioremediation of the unavoidable discharges of this greenhouse effect gas. Photobioreactors similar to those of Microphyt present the required characteristics for obtaining this result. At the rate of 2 tons of CO2 fixed for a ton of dry biomass produced, the potential of biofixation will increase quickly with the productions of microalgae in closed photobioreactors. Future applications: biofuels especially. It consists in biofixing all the CO2 introduced in the closed photosynthetic production systems, and not just use it partially and dilute the remaining in the stripping air, as it is the case today.

Siglinda PERATHONER, University of Messina (Messina, Italy)
Convert CO2 back to fuel
This project aims at developing a photoelectrocatalytic (PEC) device which is able to convert CO2 back to fuel at near room temperature and pressure using solar light and water. Using this device, it will be possible to develop “artificial trees” able to capture the CO2 and convert it to liquid fuels (hydrocarbons, alcohols). Therefore, the implementation of this concept will allow to reduce levels of CO2 in the atmosphere and at the same time capture a renewable source of energy (solar radiation) transforming it in a form (liquid fuels) which can be stored, used and transformed, preserving thus the large investments made on fossil fuels.

Casper VAN OOSTEN, Eindhoven University of Technology, Peer+ Company (Eindhoven, The Netherlands)
Smart Energy Glass
The switchable window
Smart Energy Glass is a new type of switchable window that is able to control the amount of light coming in and collect solar energy at the same time. The window mode can be controlled with a switch in three settings: dark, light and privacy (scattering). The light that is absorbed in the window is converted into energy. The key benefits:
- Collection of solar energy invisibly integrated into a building;
- Significant savings on air-conditioning costs (and energy);
- Improvement of the internal building climate through a natural lighting cycle;
- The windows can have any desired colour.
Currently, the start-up company Peer+ from the Eindhoven University is developing this project.

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