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Ukrainian Inventor Wins Second Place at EPO European Inventor Award for Leaf-Based Paper Technology

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Photo: Ukrainian Inventor Wins Second Place at EPO European Inventor Award for Leaf-Based Paper Technology. Source: fb-releafpaper
Photo: Ukrainian Inventor Wins Second Place at EPO European Inventor Award for Leaf-Based Paper Technology. Source: fb-releafpaper

Valentyn Frechka, a young Ukrainian inventor who developed a technology for producing paper from fallen leaves, has won second place in the European Inventor Award for young inventors.

"On 9 July, the European Patent Office (EPO) awarded 23-year-old Ukrainian inventor Valentyn Frechka second place at the European Inventor Award 2024 Young Inventor Award. The inventor also received a prize of €10,000. Frečka has developed a method for recycling fallen leaves into paper. In this way, he counteracts deforestation and offers a convenient and cost-effective way to dispose of organic waste in cities," the European Patent Office said in a press release. 

In the EPO prize competition, the first prize went to Dutch scientist Rochelle Niemeyer, who received €20,000 for her portable artificial intelligence-based chemistry kit for bacteria detection. 

Third place and a prize of €5,000 went to a team of young Tunisian inventors, Khawla bin Ahmed, Gofran Yaari, Souleima Ben Temime and Sirine Ayar, who developed a smart solution for controlling a wheelchair.

In 2020, Frecka founded Releaf Paper, a company that recycles fallen leaves into biodegradable paper. The company uses advanced technology to process leaves without harmful chemicals, creating pulp for paper bags and boxes from the cleaned leaves.

Releaf Paper says it produces as much pulp from 2.3 tonnes of leaves as could be obtained by cutting down 17 trees. The finished product from fallen leaves decomposes in just 30 days, which is much faster than traditional paper. The company also plans to use biological agricultural waste, such as pineapple stalks, in the future.

In 2022, the inventor of Releaf Paper technology, Valentin Frechka, received €2.5 million from the EU to build a fallen leaf paper factory. 

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