San Donato Milanese (Milan), April 19 2011 - Eni announces the names of the researchers and scientists awarded in the fifth edition of the Eni Award. The award was established in 2007 and over the years has become an international reference point for research in the fields of energy and the environment. The Eni Award aims to encourage a better use of energy sources and develop new generations of researchers, reflecting Eni's commitment to scientific research and sustainability issues.
In particular, the "New Frontiers of Hydrocarbons" Prize has been awarded ex aequo to Gabor A. Somorjai, Professor of Chemistry at the University of California, Berkeley, and to Martin Landrø, Professor of Applied Geophysics at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU), Trondheim. The former has been awarded for his fundamental research on homogeneous and heterogeneous catalysis and, in particular, for the development of new catalysts used in petroleum cracking processes, a key technology to ensure fuel yield and quality. The latter has received the Eni Award for the development and application of the 4D seismic analysis, a technique that helps determine the changes which oil and gas deposits are subject to over time and thus allows for the management of their product development in order to substantially increase hydrocarbon recovery levels. With his work, Martin Landrø has contributed significantly to the development of several projects conducted in production areas in the North Sea.
The "Renewable and Non-Conventional Energy" Prize has been awarded to Gregory Stephanopoulos - Dow Professor of Chemical Engineering and Biotechnology at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) - for his pioneering research in the rising field of metabolic engineering, aimed at modifying the gene structure of particular bacteria so as to make them more efficient in the conversion of renewable raw materials into hydrocarbons. This is a research topic of great interest as it is oriented toward the production of second generation biofuels, not in competition with the food sector.
Jean-Marie Tarascon, Professor and Director of the Institute of Chemistry, Université de Picardie Jules Verne, has been awarded the "Protection of the Environment" Prize for his activities carried out in the field of lithium-ion batteries, through safer, low cost devices with a low environmental impact which use new types of properly designed electrodes, based also on organic materials. The availability of high performance and low cost batteries is an essential factor for the widespread diffusion of electric vehicles in the mobility system, with important environmental benefits.
Lastly, the two "Debut in Research" Prizes, reserved for scientists under 30, have been awarded to Simone Gamba, Department of Chemistry "G. Natta", Politecnico di Milano, and Fabrizio Frontalini, a researcher at the University of Urbino. During his PhD, Gamba carried out an interesting research project on the interpretation and modeling of the hydrocarbon hydrocracking process; Frontalini, instead, has contributed to research on the marine species benthic foraminifera as a bio-indicator of contaminants in the marine environment. The study has also been applied to lagoons contaminated by industrial waste containing trace elements of metals.
The Eni Award Scientific Commission is composed of 24 Members including the two Nobel laureates Harold Kroto and Robert Richardson, university presidents, researchers and scientists coming from the most important study and research centres at worldwide level. The Eni Awards will be delivered on June 8 at the Palazzo del Quirinale in the presence of the President of the Republic Giorgio Napolitano. On that occasion the awards to Eni Innovation will also be presented to three Eni research teams which have particularly distinguished themselves in terms of innovation and impact of their results on the company's business.