Reuters has published its top 100 most innovative universities in the world. In 7th place is one of our own Belgian universities: the KUL!

The agency's list does not necessarily rank the best universities in the world, but the ones that are the most innovative. The selection criteria partly relate to the amount of patents filed by the university and how influential they are, as well as how many publications the institution produces.

The University of Leuven, which is nearly 600 years old, is "one of the largest independent research and development organisations" in the world. And if the institution has risen to 7th place in the rankings, alongside 9 other universities in the United States (8) and the United Kingdom (1), it is thanks in no small part to the latest invention of its bio-engineers!

The team at KUL has developed a new generation of solar panels that can produce hydrogen from the ambient air. Providing an "average" family with energy for a whole year would require around 20 such panels. But how does it work? By drawing water vapour from the atmosphere, and then separating it into its two constituent elements. Then, 15% of the solar energy is converted into hydrogen, representing 250 litres per day for each 1.6m-long panel.

In any event, it is an excellent reward for the university, which works hard to combine teaching and high-level research!