The European Patent Office (EPO) has announced the 15 finalists nominated for the European Inventor Award 2019. The Award, now in its 14th year, celebrates the genius and creativity of inventors and inventor teams for their contributions to scientific and technological progress, their role in generating economic growth, and their impact on our daily lives. The ceremony will take place in Vienna on 20 June.
The Award will be given in the five categories of "Industry", "Research", "Non-EPO countries", "SMEs" and "Lifetime achievement". The finalists and winners are selected by an independent, international jury.
In addition, the public chooses the winner of the "Popular Prize" from among the 15 finalists by voting online on the EPO's website in the run-up to the ceremony.
1 - Higher-performance plastic recycling
What started as a simple sketch led Austrian inventors and business men Klaus Feichtinger and Manfred Hackl to reshape plastic recycling. Their patented Counter Current technology means that a wider variety of plastic waste can now be turned into pellets, ready for industrial reuse and indistinguishable from new plastics.
2 - Marine antifouling fibre wrap
Nature was the inspiration for Dutch inventor Rik Breur’s anti-fouling wrap. Like a sea urchin’s prickly surface, this environmentally friendly alternative to toxic paint prevents the growth of algae, barnacles and mussels on boat hulls, and improves fuel efficiency by up to 40%.
3 - Flexible armour that hardens on impact
After years of trial and error in both their kitchen and the lab, British material scientists and passionate snowboarders Richard Palmer and Philip Green developed a material which is flexible but stiffens on impact. The unusual properties of dilatant liquids to absorb and disperse energy made this invention perfect for a wide range of protective applications.