European Inventors of the Year announced
A biodegradable, organic plastic material made from discarded products from the paper industry, and a hand-held, laser-based 3D scanning and measuring system. These are just two of the innovations that won their creators the accolade of European Inventor of the Year. Behind the prizes, recently awarded for the fifth year in succession, are the European Patent Office (EPO) and the European Commission.
Twelve prize-winners from nine countries had been nominated in the four different classes and, for the first time, two prizes were presented for one of the classes.
This year’s winners
Small and Medium Enterprises and Research
Jürgen Pfitzer and Helmut Nägele from Germany for their biodegradable plastic material made from a discarded by-product of the paper industry that can be used in toys and components for car interiors.
Albert Markendorf and Raimund Loser from Switzerland and Germany respectively for their hand-held, laser-based 3D scanning and measuring system that is used by, for example, automotive and aircraft manufacturers and for high-precision scanning of railway tracks.
Sanjai Kohli and Steven Chen from the USA for their contribution to the spread and mass success of GPS technology in society today. Also Ben Wiens and Danny Epps from Canada for developing electrochemical fuel cells that have become a commercially viable alternative to fossil fuels. These cells are used, for example, in electrically powered buses worldwide.
Wolfgang Krätschmer from Germany for facilitating the production of “fullerenes” – small, soccer-ball shaped, carbon-based nanoparticles that are now widely used in both industrial and research applications.