On July 4, 2023, the European Patent Office (EPO) awarded the European Inventor Award, in the Research category, to a group of five French researchers from the French National Center for Scientific Research (CNRS): Patricia de Rango, Daniel Fruchart, Albin Chaise, Michel Jehan and Nataliya Skryabina. Since this award was created, France has systematically won it (except in 2007 and 2020) in one of the four categories available to EPO member countries: Industry, Research, SMEs and Lifetime Achievement. In 2022, France even won the award in three out of four categories.
The European Inventor Award rewards innovative scientific or technological work that positively influences daily life. Selected among 600 candidates, the invention of the five French scientists stands to revolutionize the field of hydrogen. According to the EPO, their solution is “likely to be decisive in the fight against climate change”. They have proposed a method for storing hydrogen in the form of solid discs, a safer and less energy-consuming means, whereas current storage is carried out mainly in batteries or salt cavities.
Hydrogen production, currently 70 million tonnes per year in the world, represents a developing market and could become the energy of the future to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. This is how France implemented a hydrogen plan in 2018, then a national strategy in 2020, which is now strengthened by the “France 2030” project. France has €9 billion available for transforming hydrogen into a competitive sector and for producing hydrogen on a massive scale, thanks to a new clean method: electrolysis.
To discover other areas in which France stands out from its competitors, visit this page.
To find out all the French award-winners since 2006, click on this link (in French).