Students from Avignon University drive forward technological innovation in agriculture with aerotechnicopony, winning 3rd prize for innovation in French-speaking science and technology

News 1 February 2024

On 22 January, Aurélien Le Goff and Robin Talbot, two students on Avignon University's "Plant Production Engineering" Master's degree course, were awarded the 3rd prize for innovation by the International Conference of French-speaking Engineering and Technical Education (CITEF). They have undertaken an innovative project that could have a major impact on the future of agriculture. Known as AEROTECHNICOPONIE, the project aims to develop an improved model of aeroponics (soil-less cultivation), known as aerotechnicopony 2.0, in response to current challenges such as global warming, dwindling water resources, the banning of pesticides and the need for more sustainable food production.

Faced with the need to rethink the traditional approach to intensive agriculture, these students have embarked on a process aimed at optimising aeroponics installations, studying their energy and environmental impact, and comparing them with current techniques. Their ultimate aim is to develop a more efficient crop based on this knowledge and to market it under the name of aeroponics.

Students committed to agricultural innovation

Aurélien Le Goff, who has extensive experience in designing a substrate reuse line on a high-tech soilless culture farm, and Robin Talbot, who broadened his skills in plant nutrition during a semester in Prague, have combined their knowledge to create an innovative solution.

Their project received financial support from Avignon University's Science, Technology and Health training and research unit, enabling them to purchase aeroponics equipment, which has been in use since the start of the academic year. Currently installed in the university greenhouse, the students are carrying out promising tests, with the aim of perfecting the equipment, developing their own installations and eventually marketing them.

The advantages of aerotechnicopony

Aeroponics is a technical evolution of aeroponics, offering greater control and significant advantages. This aeroponic growing method not only optimises space, it also increases productivity, saves considerable amounts of water, uses nutrients efficiently, does not require the use of pesticides and reduces production costs.

What is the Innovation Award?

The aim of the Prix de l'Innovation en Sciences et Techniques Francophone is to stimulate, reward and showcase the dynamism, excellence and creativity of young French speakers in the field of science and technology.

The aim is to reward original student work carried out as part of studies in a higher education establishment in the French-speaking world that is a member of one of the 3 CIRUISEF, CITEF and Figure networks. All levels of engineering and technical training are eligible (Engineer, Master's degree, Bachelor's degree, BTS, DUT, etc.).