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Innovation Design Engineering (MA/MSc)

Juan Ignacio Rion

An experienced futurist, engineer, project manager, and strategist focused on developing regenerative innovations at the intersection of science and design. His passion lies in shaping a more sustainable future by using a collaborative and creative focus on innovation.

Juan Ignacio is one of the co-founders of Carbon Cell, a carbon-negative, non-toxic, fully biodegradable replacement for fossil fuel derived rigid foams. Carbon Cell is part of the Undaunted Greenhouse Accelerator run by the Grantham Institute for the Environment. Carbon Cell has also been a finalist in the London's Mayor's Entrepreneur Competition as well as the WE Innovate competition run by the Imperial Enterprise Lab.

He came to the RCA with previous extensive professional expertise in looking wide and long-term to help businesses in many industries identify growth strategies, new business models, and early-stage product development opportunities. As Kantar's North America Sustainable Transformation Practice Lead, Juan Ignacio has worked on foresight, innovation, positioning, and strategy projects for different industries and clients including Procter & Gamble, Spotify, Mayo Clinic, Coca-Cola, Diageo, Nespresso, Gap, Clorox, Intel, MasterCard, Domino’s, Colgate-Palmolive, Guardian Glass, and IFF.

Juan Ignacio is graduating from the Innovation Design Engineering (IDE) double Master’s Program (MA/MSc) between the Dyson School of Design Engineering at Imperial College London and the School of Design at the Royal College of Art (RCA). His academic background is also in sustainability, product design, and environmental engineering.

Juan Ignacio Rion

I am focused on developing technologies that explicitly aim to reduce GHG emissions and address the impacts of global warming.

I believe it is imperative to develop radical innovations that improve our relationship with our oceans. Blue tech is the advanced technology sector of the maritime industry, which drives innovation across emerging markets. It encompasses a wide range of industries, from marine-based biomedicine and ocean-based sensor technology, to clean power of marine vessels and marine clean technology. The projects I have pursued during my two year masters degree have all fallen within the realm of climate tech and blue tech.

I'm originally from Mexico City, where I will continue to develop regenerative innovations that mitigate anthropogenic impacts on the planet, and particularly, our oceans. Beyond my academic and professional career, I plan to spend most of my free time surfing, listening to podcasts, building playlists, and reading about leading-edge sustainable innovations.

Passive solar drying unit
Dewaterra modular unitThis is one unit of the modular Dewaterra system. Ocean farmers can stack these as wide and tall as required based on their harvest volumes. The unit has (from right to left) tubercle fins in the inlet to increase and accelerate airflow, the parabolic troughs that concentrate heat in the copper pipes, and the thermomechanical valves at the outlet.
Velocity magnitude simulation
Dewaterra airflow simulationBetter and faster drying is obtained by increasing air velocity. This simulation shows how the unit is designed to draw in air quickly to create a strong flow. Thanks to the Venturi effect, when air is forced to flow through the constricted sections, its speed increases while the air pressure drops. After air flow is accelerated, it naturally follows the adjacent surface, pulling in the surrounding air. The Coandă effect is the tendency of a fluid jet to stay attached to a convex surface.
Modular Dewaterra units
Stacked Dewaterra unitsEach Dewaterra unit is modularly built so that ocean farmers can decide how big their system needs to be based on their harvest. This also gives them the flexibility to scale depending on harvest volume growth year over year.
Parabolic trough
Close up of Dewaterra solar concentratorThis is a close up of the parabolic solar concentrator. Solar radiation is passively captured by the parabolic trough lined with mirrors that reflect, concentrate, and focus sunlight on the copper tube located in the focus. This tube is filled with a phase change material.
Carbon Cell
Carbon CellCarbon Cell is a carbon negative, non-toxic, fully biodegradable insulation foam. While lightweight, it is three time stronger than polystyrene and other bio- and fossil fuel basedinsulation foams.
Carbon Cell Video