This Thanksgiving let’s revisit some Innovations we are thankful for in 2022!

With family, friends, and big meals, the time has come when you go into the biggest food coma of the year. It’s Thanksgiving!!

Beyond food, it’s the time when we come together to count our blessings of the past year. And even in this time of turmoil, when many of us couldn’t spend our holidays with our dear ones, thanks to technological innovations, we still managed to stay in touch with them.

With each year, our world advances more than the previous one making our lives better by the day. So in the spirit of Thanksgiving, let’s take some time to celebrate some of the recent innovations we are thankful for. These innovations have changed the world for the better!

Early Detection of Breast Cancer 

Did you know in 2020, more than 2.3 million women were diagnosed with breast cancer worldwide, of which 685,000 died? 

One of the reasons for this low survival rate is the scarcity of early detection programs. But wouldn’t it be great if there was a technology that could help detect the tumors while they are small, thus giving patients a fighting chance of survival?

After years of research, it is finally possible now. Thanks to Marco Stampanoni, Zhentian Wang for developing the Phase-contrast X-ray imaging for advanced breast cancer screening.

The GratXray team (including Stampanoni and Wang) won the Swiss Technology Award for this revolutionary technology.
The GratXray team (including Stampanoni and Wang) won the Swiss Technology Award for this revolutionary technology.

Bringing us a step closer to the early detection of breast cancer, by leading a team of researchers they developed a new 3D X-ray imaging system that provides higher-contrast mammogram scans, making it possible to detect small, early-stage tumors better.

Now, detecting the tumor was only one part of the problem, next is finding the cure. Whether a treatment can cure a person’s cancer depends on the type and stage of cancer, the type of treatment they can get, and other factors. Some cancers are more likely to be cured than others. But each cancer needs to be treated differently. Unfortunately, there isn’t one cure for cancer.

But what if we could produce cancer vaccines to cure different types of cancer through just one medium? Wouldn’t that be a breakthrough!

Achieving the impossible in Multi-Cancer Treatments

Previously, oncologists believed that making a therapeutic vaccine for cancer was impossible. This was until Madiha Derouazi and Elodie Belnoue, with their team, invented a platform to make therapeutic vaccines for cancer that will help our immune system recognize and destroy the cancer cells in the body. 

These vaccines do not replace medical treatments like surgeries, chemotherapy, and radiotherapy; instead, they are designed to be used in combination with other drugs to help activate the immune system. 

By breaking new ground in cancer treatment, the team won the European Inventor Award 2022!

Plant-based decontamination

Human activities such as dumping of toxic waste, burning of fossil fuels, etc, have increasingly contaminated our surroundings; no matter how hard we try, we cannot completely reverse the damage that has been done to the environment. 

Or can we, maybe?

How does the saying go, ‘Nature has a way of healing itself.’? Well, they say it right!

While it is not easy to grow plants on contaminated soil, there are some species that have adapted to this environment. These plants help decontaminate by absorbing the metal elements from the soil.

Thanks to Claude Grison and mother nature who found a way to decontaminate polluted soils with metal-eating plants!

The french researcher developed a patented method (EP2504096B1) to extract metal elements absorbed by these plants from the polluted soil. The extracted elements can then be used as catalysts in chemical reactions.

This technology can help recover metals like zinc, nickel, copper, and manganese. She was also awarded the 2022 European Innovator Award for her incredible innovation.

Extracting clean fuel 

Although it is proven that hydrogen is environmentally friendly, scientists have found it challenging to work on. This is because the current methods of extracting this fuel require a lot of energy, and large facilities and are often accompanied by the use of various metals. 

What we needed is an optimized process that could help extract hydrogen in an efficient way. 

This was made possible by extracting “Green hydrogen from sunlight and air”

That’s right, Johan Martens and his two graduate students, Tom Bosserez and Jan Rongé developed the first solar panel capable of extracting clean hydrogen fuel directly from the air. 

The solar panel produces clean hydrogen gas from sunlight and the moisture that is captured at night. Thus, making it possible to make hydrogen fuel directly from the air. The trio made it to the finalists of the European Patent Awards’22.

Long-term power storage solutions

The power crisis that countries like Sri Lanka and Europe are facing is caused by their inability to get fuel for generating electricity. Thus, resulting in an increase in electricity prices due to their dependence on natural gas.

Wouldn’t it be great if there was some way through which they could harvest and store clean energy in a much cheaper way?

This is now possible with the “Liquid metal batteries for storing renewable energy”

With the thought of storing renewable energy in a much cheaper way, Chemist Donald Sadoway from Ambri/Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) developed a patented (EP2973837B1) liquid metal battery for storing solar and wind energy. His invention also won him the European Inventor Award 2022!

Author’s note: Want to read more about this innovation? Read how Ambri’s Liquid Metal Battery is Reshaping Energy Storage.

The battery thus produced is a long-term, cost-effective way of storing energy than the standard lithium-ion battery. While the usual batteries lose their storage capacity after long-term use, the liquid metal batteries can still retain 99% of their original capacity even after 5000 charging cycles. Isn’t that AMAZING?

Material optimization for ultracapacitors

As an alternative to batteries, ultracapacitors or supercapacitors are gaining popularity today. Why, you might ask?

The ultracapacitors have greater advantages in power density, maintenance cost, service life and environmental adaptability, and have become an ideal choice for energy storage systems in the electrical, power, and electronics industries.

These days, we can find ultracapacitors in small devices like kitchen appliances, smart locks, and even in automobiles, like EVs!

But, the usual electrode material used for ultracapacitors contains contaminants that decrease its efficiency. To increase the power of the ultracapacitor, scientists needed a new material that could provide a high level of energy density.

Thanks to, Estonian scientists Jaan Leis, Mati Arulepp, and Anti Perkson who developed “Superior carbon-based materials for ultracapacitors”

These scientists found a better-optimized material called curved graphene. It can be used as an electrode to provide quick charging, long-lasting, and produce more powerful ultracapacitors.

The manufacturers’ Skeleton Technologies claim that their ultracapacitors can charge within 15 seconds, withstand over one million charge cycles, and are up to 30% more efficient than regular batteries.

Their contributions to the industry helped them fetch the European Inventor Award 2022.


Although there are many more innovations we are thankful for, we could just list down a few. So, this Thanksgiving, let’s be thankful to all the inventors that directly or indirectly play important roles in our daily lives and their contribution to the development of science, technology, and societies across the globe.

Do you wish to add more innovations to the above list? 

Feel free to tell us about them in the comments below!

Happy Thanksgiving to you!

Authored By: Ridhima Mahajan, Marketing

Leave a Comment

Become a part of GreyB’s insider list

Get our distilled learning delivered to you.

Get the Sample Report

Fill out the form and get the report.