Eni focuses on synergies between science and industry by collaborating with leading universities and research centres both in Italy and abroad.
By working with the world’s leading scientists we are developing revolutionary new technologies. The most recent challenge that we are investing in is magnetic fusion. Magnetic fusion is a sophisticated technology that builds on different areas of know-how – which our company possesses – such as material physics and developing large-scale power plants.
We also work in partnership with research centres and universities at national level. We recently strengthened our relationship with the National Research Council (CNR): the initial agreement was signed in 2009 and was renewed in 2014. Furthermore, in May 2018 Eni and CNR signed an agreement worth 20 million euros to establish four research centres in southern Italy in order to focus on the following scientific and strategic issues: fusion, water, agriculture and the Arctic ecosystem. Following on from the previous meeting, a Joint Research Agreement (JRA) was signed in March 2019 to establish four joint research centres in southern Italy, providing an opportunity to reflect upon and discuss ideas relating to sustainable environmental and economic development in Italy and throughout the world. Researchers at the laboratories, located within the various operational or research centres already in existence, will work collaboratively on four key areas, from the decarbonisation of the energy sector, sustainable growth, the promotion of the circular economy and bioeconomics to the development of innovative and sustainable water systems and agricultural techniques. At the CNR in Lecce, researchers will be focusing on climate change in the Arctic; in Gela, the team will be looking at the use of magnetic confinement fusion for the creation of clean energy; in Metaponto, attention will be on the sustainable and innovative management of the water cycle in Basilicata, and in Portici, efforts will be centred upon the development of low carbon emission agriculture.
At the national level we have increasingly consolidated partnerships with the Polytechnics of Milan and Turin. In addition to promoting study oriented for the hydrocarbon sector in energy engineering degree courses, we have involved departments and researchers in oil and gas projects and renewable energy. Topics range from the study of the behaviour of reservoirs to improve extraction to luminescent solar concentrators and the synthesis of higher performance fuels with lower emissions. In July 2018, the framework agreement with Politecnico di Milano was renewed, lending a new strategic element to the partnership based on innovation and development in the circular economy, digitalisation and the transition towards an increasingly more sustainable energy system. The Politecnico di Milano is our partner for the design and implementation of the second-level university master programme in Energy Innovation, scheduled to begin 26 November 2018. In mid-2017, we signed a three-year agreement with the University of Bologna worth €5 million. The focus of research will be on areas of expertise in which the university can nurture Eni’s technological development: safety, energy transition, renewable energies, support for operational excellence and industrial systems.
A new agreement has been signed between the Dean of the University of Pavia, Fabio Rugge, and Eni CEO Claudio Descalzi that will see the two bodies work in synergy with one another in a number of strategic fields relating to operational efficiency, decarbonization and the circular economy. Eni and the University of Pavia have, in fact, been working together for the purposes of researching the production of energy from renewable sources for some time now.
The President of the ENEA, Federico Testa, and Eni CEO Claudio Descalzi signed a protocol agreement on 2 May 2019 that paves the way for a new collaboration with regards to research into magnetic confinement fusion with a view to obtaining clean, safe and sustainable energy using the same mechanism that the sun uses to produce energy. This agreement comes in addition to the one signed in July 2018 to launch a series of joint research activities in scientific and technological areas that are strategically important for Eni and that may be particularly beneficial for Italy, such as the circular economy, alternative energy sources and environmental protection. This is further evidence of our commitment to the process of decarbonization, which aims to reduce emissions, encourage the use of natural gas and develop renewable energy. This commitment also sees us focusing on the development of technological solutions with a view to applying the circular economy to business. This means improving efficiency by reducing waste and making use of waste materials.
On 15 October 2018, Eni and the University of Naples Federico II signed a research and development cooperation agreement on the issues of energy, the circular economy and Industry 4.0. The three-year collaboration involves the development of numerous sectors in which the university excels, including the development of technologies for renewable energy, industrial automation and advanced robotics, Big Data & Analytics, and innovative materials for optimising production processes.