San Donato Milanese (Milan), May 27 2013 – Eni has announced the names of the researchers and scientists who won the seventh edition of the Eni Awards, first presented in 2007 and now an internationally renowned acknowledgement for research in the fields of energy and the environment. The Eni Awards aim to develop better ways of using energy sources and offer opportunities to new generations of researchers, demonstrating the critical importance Eni assigns to scientific research and sustainability.
The "New Frontiers of Hydrocarbons" award in the Downstream category has been assigned to Rajamani Krishna, a professor at Amsterdam University’s Van’t Hoff Institute for Molecular Sciences. Professor Krishna's research improves the processes of gas-purification and separation through the understanding of fundamental physical and chemical phenomena at molecular and microscopic level.
The award in the Upstream category goes to Philip G. Jessop, professor of Inorganic Chemistry and Canada Research Chair in Green Chemistry in the Chemistry Department at Queen’s University in Kingston (Ontario). Professor Jessop discovered a way to engineer on-demand intelligent solvents’ properties, using chemical compounds as switch. In this way it is possible to separate oil and water, thus remediating water contaminated with hydrocarbons, without using organic solvents and allowing relevant environmental achievements.
The “Renewable and Non-conventional Energy‘ award has been presented ex aequo to Frances Arnold, Professor of Chemical Engineering, Biochemistry and Bioengineering at the California Institute of Technology, and James Liao, Parson Foundation Professor and head of the Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering Department at the University of California.
Professor Arnold has been awarded, together with her research team, for the creation of breakthrough methods aimed to biocatalysts engineering for high selectivity production of fuels and chemicals from biomasses.
Professor Liao has selected microorganisms for converting wood cellulose biomass, waste proteins and carbon dioxide into useful chemical compounds and fuels using modified forms of E. coli bacteria, achieving high conversion and energy efficiency.
Roberto Danovaro, professor of Biology and Marine Ecology at the Polytechnic University of the Marches, was presented with the “Protection of the Environment‘ award. Professor Danovaro’s research investigates the crucial role played by viruses in maintaining the balance of the marine ecosystem and controlling the capacity to absorb CO2. His team’s ground-breaking studies on the changes taking place in the environment today suggest that marine viruses can reduce carbon dioxide accumulation in marine ecosystems and have the potential to reduce the impact of climate change through complex feedback mechanisms.
The two “Debut in Research‘ awards for researchers under 30 in Italian universities were presented to Matteo Cargnello, a graduate of Trieste University who is currently a post-doc fellow at the University of Pennsylvania, and Damiano Genovese, a post-doc researcher with the Photochemical Nanosciences Group at Bologna University. Dr. Cargnello’s research focuses on the synthesis of precise nanostructures, providing active and stable catalysts for the sustainable production of hydrogen by photo-catalysis, for fuel cells electricity generation and methane emission control.
Dr. Genovese analyzed the supra-molecular approach for the creation of fluorescent nano-structures to be applied in various sectors of great economic and social relevance, such as medical diagnosis, molecular biology and solar energy conversion. .
The Eni Award Scientific Commission has 25 members, including Nobel Prize winner Harold Kroto, as well as university chancellors and researchers and scientists from the world’s most important research and study centres. The Eni Awards will be presented at the Quirinale soon in a ceremony attended by Italian President Giorgio Napolitano. The Eni Awards for Innovation will be held simultaneously, and will be awarded to three of the company’s own research teams which have stood out for their efforts towards innovation and for the significance of the results achieved throughout their work for the company’s business.