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EU announces 2021 Innovation Radar Prize winners

Meet two of this year’s best EU-funded innovators: Finnish company MetGen, the overall Grand Prix winner, and C2CA Technology, the Netherlands, winner of the Sustainability Tech category.

Society

Since 2015, the European Commission has been awarding the Innovation Radar Prize to the best EU-funded innovators. This year, 4 prize winners have been recognised for their promising achievements out of a total of 12 finalists. The overall prize went to biotechnology solution provider MetGen and the sustainability technology prize to C2CA Technology.

Innovative cardboard packaging

Finnish company MetGen won the overall 2021 Innovation Radar Prize for developing a disruptive bio-based solution to replace the petrochemical wax-based solutions used in cardboard packaging boxes today. The biotechnology solution provider’s sustainable bio-based additive for fibre-based boards makes cardboard packaging stronger and more moisture-resistant. Moreover, the absence of petrochemical products in the cardboard makes the packaging easier to recycle. As reported on the ‘Innovation Radar’ website, MetGen was identified as a key innovator for its development of “New low sulphur crude oil blends from lignin for marine engine applications.” The innovation was developed under the EU-funded FALCON project, in which MetGen was a partner. As the recipient of the overall prize, the company was granted around EUR 13 million in EU funding to further its research into innovative packaging solutions. The FALCON project’s aim was to convert the lignin-rich industrial waste of second-generation biofuel plants to shipping fuels, fuel additives and chemical building blocks. Developments in this area will minimise waste and provide new alternatives for fossil fuel-based processes. Based on the enzymatic and mild chemical conversion of the lignin waste stream, the FALCON process offers an eco-friendlier approach to the production of fuels and chemical building blocks.

Recycling building materials

The winner of the Innovation in Sustainability Tech category was Dutch company C2CA Technology for its groundbreaking construction material recycling system. The technology will help to make the construction sector circular and significantly reduce greenhouse gas emissions. C2CA Technology is a spin-off of Delft University of Technology (the Netherlands), which was a partner in the EU-funded HISER project, under which the innovation was developed. The HISER project’s main goal was to develop innovative and cost-effective solutions for a higher recovery of raw materials from ever-more complex construction and demolition waste. It achieved this by adopting circular economy approaches throughout the building value chain. Winners were also chosen in two more prize categories. The prize for Innovation in Health Tech was awarded to Italian company React4Life for their organ-on-a-chip solution that speeds up the development of new drugs and therapies. The Innovation in Disruptive Tech category winner was Czech company Kypo for their open-source cybersecurity training platform that helps address Europe’s cybersecurity skills gap. The FALCON (Fuel and chemicals from lignin through enzymatic and chemical conversion) project ended in December 2020. HISER (Holistic Innovative Solutions for an Efficient Recycling and Recovery of Valuable Raw Materials from Complex Construction and Demolition Waste) ended in January 2019. For more information, please see: FALCON project website HISER project website

Keywords

FALCON, HISER, Innovation Radar, prize, sustainability, technology, MetGen, C2CA Technology

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