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This prize is a tribute to companies and researchers everywhere working to fight disease in the third world
Koen Andries 2014 award winner in the industry category

Finalists

Industry

With billions of Euros committed to research and development every year, industrial-sized companies are the innovative backbone of Europe.

2015 WINNER

Franz Amtmann and Philippe Maugars

Near-field communication technology, which enables quick, contactless transfer of information and payment
Amtmann and Maugars have been instrumental in making NFC commercially viable. Over half a billion NFC-equipped devices are expected to ship by the end of this year.

Teams at NXP Semiconductors and Sony working together to create a new standard for secure, contactless communication between devices

It is now possible to make a quick, secure payment with a flick of the wrist, thanks to near-field communication (NFC) technology. In addition to letting people pay for coffee without cash, the possibilities for NFC are widespread. Getting a bus ticket while stepping onto the vehicle, unlocking a door, accessing information at a museum display, sharing documents or photos - NFC makes it all possible just by swiping a mobile handset across a reader. The contactless communication technology at NFC’s core was patented by Franz Amtmann, who led a team of engineers at NXP Semiconductors in Holland. Philippe Maugars’s team developed a secure connection within an NFC circuit and by joining their efforts, Amtmann and Maugars have been instrumental in making NFC commercially viable. Over half a billion NFC-equipped devices are expected to ship by the end of this year.

Gunnar Asplund

High-voltage power source converter, which simplifies the integration of AC and DC power infrastructure
The flexibility of High Voltage Direct Current Light has made it a go-to choice for remote or offshore renewable power plants.

Electrical engineer, developing a new standard for high voltage energy transmissions

There is a new standard for transmitting power reliably over long distances: HVDC Light. The flexibility of High Voltage Direct Current Light has made it a go-to choice for remote or offshore renewable power plants, as it enables electricity to be transmitted more efficiently and securely than traditional methods. Gunnar Asplund has played a significant role in developing viable HVDC technology during his nearly 40 years in the field. AC, the standard over the past century due to the ease of conversion into different voltages, suffers from higher power losses over distance. Working at engineering conglomerate ABB in Sweden, Asplund has developed a voltage source converter which simplifies the integration of AC and DC power infrastructure. Asplund’s technique connects one direct and at least one alternating voltage network, and then voltage source converters are used to transform current between AC and DC in either direction. HVDC transmission has also enabled a wider range of power - from a mere trickle and up to several gigawatts - to be transferred over the same cable infrastructure.

Jean-Christophe Giron

Intelligent glass which makes buildings greener, by letting light in and keeping heat out with electronic tinting
A building's energy consumption is cut by 30% compared to standard glass, by reducing the need for air conditioning.

Chemist, specialising in green engineering solutions in construction

Natural light flows freely through the windows made from SageGlass, but harmful rays from the sun are blocked, and so is excess heat. The result: a building’s energy consumption is cut by 30% compared to standard glass. Considering that buildings account for as much as 40% of global energy usage, this makes SageGlass a true green warrior. Invented by Frenchman Jean-Christophe Giron and his team at SAGE Electrochromics, the success of this new smart glass stems from its capability to change opacity electronically, depending on personal preference. SageGlass is coated in five nanolayers, and when low voltage is applied to the conductor layer and touches the counter electrode, the ion conductor triggers a darkening of the electrochromic layer. Giron spent 14 years developing the technology for SageGlass’ unique user-controllable solution, filing over 300 patents in the process. Today SAGE Electrochromics, now operating as a subsidiary of Saint-Gobain, is a globally leading manufacturer of dynamic electronic glass.