Three projects from France, Poland and Serbia were recognised for the quality of their work by an international panel of judges chaired by Bruno Lafont, Chairman and CEO of Lafarge. The winners received a prize of €20,000 each as well as future mentoring from Lafarge to support the development of their innovative ideas.
Created in 2010, the "Lafarge Invention Awards" were designed to reward and support projects of European researchers and entrepreneurs on building materials (though products, industrial procedures, construction methods or services) contributing to sustainable construction.
The Group launched the competition in June to European countries, through an information campaign relayed locally to universities, research institutes and chambers of commerce. Ten finalists were selected from over a hundred applications received from eighteen countries. The judges came to their decision after each finalist presented their project yesterday at the Group’s Technology Center in Saint-Quentin Fallavier, near Lyon.
First prize: P.R.O.M.E.S.S (Protecting Marine Ecosystems and Structure against Scour) developed by SM2 Solutions Marines in France, represented by Sven-Michel Lourié & Michèle Cabanis. P.R.O.M.E.S.S is an Artificial Reef, made of concrete incorporating shell waste, with an anti-scour system, containing a layer of artificial seagrass which enable to fix the reef. The system is rapidly colonized by invertebrates, algae epiphytes and fish. It fosters biodiversity and fisheries, while also providing scour protection for underwater structures such as offshore windpower piles, cables and pipelines.
Second prize: Thermal Barrier, developed by Marek Kraczek from Gdansk University of Technology in Poland. The thermal barrier system maintains a constant temperature of around 19°C in a building throughout the year, thanks to an indirect heating and cooling technology which supplies energy into the external walls of a building rather than into internal air. It combines a roof-collecting solar energy and ground heat storage system to heat polypropylene U-pipes placed inside external walls. This limits temperature variations in the external walls, or energy losses.
Third prize: New building construction technology with continuously insulated pre-fabricated concrete panel system, developed by Mr. Jovan Nikolic of Quattro Construction in Serbia. This new construction technology features a concrete panel system, with internal insulation to avoid "thermal bridges" and thus improves energy efficiency. Multi-functional tools are used to produce pre-fabricated panels of various dimensions before installation on-site. Connecting panels both ‘wall to wall’, but also ‘wall to ceiling’ connections ensures the building’s insulation with an estimated 80% reduction in energy consumption through the avoidance of "thermal bridges".
Following the success of this first event, the Group will soon extend the competition to other continents.