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Back to the Future

Back to the Future

Closed for application

Our challenge

Photobioreactors (also known as PBRs — systems that cultivate micro-algae) are a technology with a vast potential: micro-algae can transform CO2 into oxygen; process waste into bioplastics and biofuel; create natural fertilizers, and more. PBRs can close circular economy loops and be of use for many commercial and productive fields. ALOS is a company that has been involved in the micro-algae sector for several years, exploiting microalgal technologies to develop indoor air purifiers for both the B2B and B2C. The same company, however, is also exploring new avenues, such as using PBRs to mitigate the environmental impact of the distillation of aromatic herbs and transform waste into high-value byproducts. How can ALOS maximize the sustainability of such productive processes? In this challenge, you will work with ALOS to explore new fields, and ultimately develop different market scenarios for applied micro-algae technology.

Study format
Application period
20 December 2023 – 15 February 2024
Study period
19 February – 31 May 2024
Hosting university
University of Trento
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Learning outcomes




An integrated approach that takes into consideration environmental concerns along with economic development.


Business Development


Potential progress

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Less than 5
5 or more
Goal based on on your motivation scan

Energy and sustainability

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Entrepreneurship, technology and innovation

Project management
Social innovation
Working with technology
Entrepreneurial skills

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The challenge aims to find sustainability and green economy solutions using the technology of photobioreactors (PBRs). The students will try to solve the challenge by using techniques drawn from future studies. 

Since PBRs are versatile technologies, learners will go through two divergent phases: on the first, learners will decide what field of application (commercial sector, or segment of industry) they want to explore for PBRs; on the second, learners will use scenarios to explore how their chosen application field could evolve in a medium-term future. In practice, the scenarios that students produce will be descriptions of hypothetical worlds where PBRs have different roles and prominences in the respective fields of application. Once learners decide on a scenario, they will close the challenge by proposing a concept for a product that ALOS could develop within that scenario. 

The students will learn to assess the potential of a technology critically, and use tools of thought to experience a less classic way of doing entrepreneurship in the field of Innovation and Technology, orienting it to responsible innovation and sustainability.

Hosting university

University of Trento

University of Trento

Challenge provider

Alos Technology