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€50,000 Challenge Seeks New Gas Technologies

Gas factory

(Courtesy, Air Liquire)

28 December 2015. A challenge competition from industrial gas developer Air Liquide asks researchers to devise new solutions for three sustainable applications of gas molecules. Each of the three challenges awards a cash prize of €50,000 ($US 55,000), and an opportunity to earn another €500,000 in funding to develop the proposed solution. The competitions begin receiving entries on 6 January 2016, and have a deadline of 28 April 2016.

Air Liquide, based in Paris, is a 113 year-old global company that produces industrial gases for manufacturing, health care, electronics, and technology enterprises. In the first of its Essential Molecules Challenge, Air Liquide is seeking new methods for three sustainable and commercial-scale gas applications:

  • Producing hydrogen from water by using solar energy, where water is the feedstock, large quantities of hydrogen are produced in a safe and efficient process, and no carbon dioxide is released into the atmosphere.
  • Compact gas storage technologies, with high volume and gravimetric capacities, as well as low-energy and reversible uptake and release, using abundant and non-toxic materials.
  • Producing oxygen or carbon monoxide from carbon dioxide, with abundant or potentially recyclable catalysts, producing high yields of a purified product, and a process that can tolerate low-purity carbon dioxide feedstocks.

Air Liquide says it wants entries from a wide range of competitors including businesses of all sizes, individual inventors, entrepreneurs, and public or private research institutes. The open-innovation community NineSights in Cleveland, Ohio is hosting the challenge, and will begin accepting proposals on 6 January 2016, with the deadline set for 28 April 2016. Winners will be announced in September 2016.

The company is expected to award up to three cash prizes of €50,000 in each of the three competitions. In addition, winners will be eligible for a four-year, €500,000 collaboration contract with Air Liquide to develop their ideas into marketable technologies.

The Essential Molecules Challenge is the first major activity in Air Liquide’s molecules lab, or m-lab, that the company opened in October 2015. The m-lab aims to host and engage more of the world’s scientific communities working in relevant chemical disciplines.

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