San Donato Milanese (Milan), 17 May 2012 -Eni has announced the names of the winning researchers and scientists of the fifth edition of the Eni Awards, established in 2007 and now an international reference point for energy and environmental research. The Eni Award aims to encourage the improved use of energy sources and develop new generations of researchers, reflecting the importance given by Eni to scientific research and sustainability.
The "New Frontiers of Hydrocarbons" prize (Upstream) was awarded to Fabio Rocca, professor emeritus of Telecommunications at the Politecnico of Milan, and Alessandro Ferretti, CEO of "Tele-Rilevamento Europa" (TRE) - a spin-off of the Politecnico of Milan - for the development of a new algorithm for processing data from satellite observation systems.This algorithm,used in conjunction with all other information usuallygatheredduring the mining of deposits, may improve their exploitation, identifying the most promising areas for optimisation, thus enabling the mining of more hydrocarbons with the same number of operations, as alwayswith the utmost respect for personal safety and the environment.
The "New Frontiers of Hydrocarbons" prize (Downstream) was awarded to Enrique Iglesia, Professor of Chemical Engineering at the University of California, Berkeley, for the development of hydrocarbon synthesis catalysts which improve process efficiency andreduce waste and energy use. This results in better use of resources, lower energy consumption and reduced environmental impact throughout the process. The main areas of interest explored by Prof. Iglesia include the activation reactions of methane and of simple molecules derived from same, to produce liquid products that may be used as raw materials for the production of fuels, lubricants and polymers, not only from oil, but also from natural gas, biomass and coal.
The "Renewable, non-conventional energy" prize was awarded to Harry A. Atwater, Professor of Applied Physics and Materials Science at the California Institute of Technology, and Albert Polman, Director and Scientific Group Leader of the FOM Institute AMOLF in Amsterdam, who together have created new generation, ultra-thin solar cells offering for greater efficiency and reduced construction costs. These cells open up new opportunities for the development of technologies based on solar energy.
Barbara Sherwood Lollar, Professor of Geology at the University of Toronto, was awarded the "Environmental protection" prize for developing techniques which, by monitoring the presence and quantity of stable carbon isotopes in groundwater, are able to detect its degree of pollution and indicate the effectiveness ofin-situbiodegradationby microorganisms.
The two "Research Debut" awards, reserved for scientists under 30 years of age, were conferred to Silvia Comba and Jijeesh Ravi Nair, both from the Politecnico of Turin. Silvia Comba has developed a doctoral thesis on the treatment of contaminated groundwater by means of a novel technique based on the use of nano- and micro-particles of iron. Jijeesh Ravi Nair's thesis investigates a methodology for the preparation of electrolytic membranes for lithium batteries, capable of supplying electricity in an efficient and environmentally friendly manner.
The Scientific Review Panel of the Eni Awards is composed of 24 members, including university chancellors, the two Nobel Prize winners Harold Kroto and Robert Richardson, and researchers and scientists from leading centres of study and research worldwide. The Eni Awards will be presented on 15 June 2012 at the Quirinal Palace, before the President of the Italian Republic Giorgio Napolitano, together with the Eni Innovation Awards conferred to three internal research teams that have stood out for their innovation and for the impact of the results on business.