It also received a special award, “Eni Joule for Entrepreneurship,” which recognizes the best innovative and sustainable business idea.
The Eni Award ceremony was held today at the Quirinale Palace and was attended by President Sergio Mattarella, Chairman of the Board of Directors Eni Giuseppe Zaffarana, and CEO of Eni Claudio Descalzi.
The award, now in its 15th year, is considered an international benchmark for research in the field of energy and the environment and highlights the importance of scientific research and innovation to Eni, as well as sustainability and energy access. proof of Eni’s commitment to promoting Energy in accordance with the United Nations’ 17 Sustainable Development Goals. Since our founding in 2008, we have received over 11,000 applications. The scientific committee that evaluates the published research is made up of scientists from cutting-edge research institutions around the world and has included six Nobel Prize winners over the years.
Once again this year, Eni, through its business school Joule, aims to promote the application, valuation and transfer of technology, as well as to foster technology creation, targeting teams, university spin-offs and start-up companies. Special Award Eni Joule for Spirit. Building a sustainable innovation ecosystem.
The winners of the 2023 edition of the Eni Award are:
- In the Energy Transition category for research in the areas of energy efficiency and carbon capture, use and sequestration, the award was awarded to Yu Huang of the University of California, Los Angeles, USA. Jeffrey R. of the University of California (Berkeley, USA) for research on economical and sustainable hydrogen fuel cells for the decarbonization of transportation, and research on cooperative adsorption in his MOF materials for gas capture. .Long was asked to conduct the research.
Yu Huang has developed a highly efficient and innovative catalyst for hydrogen fuel cells (HFCs), significantly improving both their performance, cost efficiency, and production sustainability. In particular, he created a nanometer-scale protective layer that prevents the catalyst from degrading during operation, and a technology based on the use of nanowires that can significantly reduce the use of critical, high-quality platinum. cost element. HFCs are an alternative to internal combustion engines and therefore contribute effectively to the decarbonization of transport.
Jeffrey R. Long designed and developed a crystalline nanoporous material known by the acronym MOF. When properly functionalized, this material can selectively separate specific molecules even from complex mixtures. The main application concerns carbon dioxide, which is also separated from combustion gases and air. These materials are characterized by high adsorption capacity and low regeneration energy, and operate in a cooperative adsorption mechanism that has never been observed before. For this reason, it is preferred for use in industrial processes to recover carbon dioxide from the air (direct air capture, DAC).
- The Frontiers in Energy category, for research in renewable resources and energy storage, was awarded to Matthew Loseinski from the University of Liverpool (UK) for his work on digital technologies for the design and discovery of new generation energy materials. it was done. Through the use of new computational techniques, Matthew Loseinski and his team have opened new horizons in the field of materials science, including energy applications. This integrated, innovative approach, which combines artificial intelligence, machine learning, computational physics models and automation, accelerates the discovery of high-performance materials by predicting both properties and stability. New materials such as these are needed to meet the net-zero challenge. For example, solar absorbers without toxic components, new electrolytes with high transport properties for batteries, to oxides with the lowest thermal conductivity ever recorded for thermoelectric applications.
- In the Advanced Environmental Solutions category, which focuses on strengthening scientific and technological innovation for the conservation and sustainable use of natural resources, Tarapil Pradeep from the Indian Institute of Technology Madras (India) will lead research on accessible technology. I won an award. Water purification using advanced materials. Tarapir Pradeep discovers nanomaterials to remove toxic pollutants such as arsenic and uranium from water, and uses them to develop advanced, sustainable and economical solutions for obtaining drinking water Did. Currently, 1.3 million people in India are benefiting from this invention every day at a very affordable cost of 2.1 paise (US$0.00028) per liter of treated water. The technology is characterized by ease of maintenance and disposal, low cost and environmental impact, and has been approved for deployment across India.
section young talent from africaThe award was established in 2017 to commemorate the 10th anniversary of the Eni Award and is dedicated to young talent on the African continent. Assigned to Mr. Duodu. ), Mr. Elshadei Mulu Fetene of Moi University (Kenya), Mr. Tsion Ayalyu Kebede of Addis Ababa University (Ethiopia), and Mr. Natnael Tilahun Shinsho of Addis Ababa University of Science and Technology (Ethiopia). Winners will receive a scholarship to attend a doctoral program at a prestigious Italian university to deepen and develop their innovative ideas.
- Gloria Amo-Duodu studied metal nanoparticles with magnetic properties to improve the quality of biogas produced from wastewater by anaerobic digestion.
- Elshaday Mulu Fetene analyzed the potential for biogas upgrading through the use of natural and modified adsorbents such as wood ash, clay, and zeolites.
- Tzion Ayalyu Kebede focused on the impact of changes related to land use and land cover on climate, leveraging remote sensing technology and machine learning mechanisms.
- Finally, Natnael Tilahun Sinshaw used deep learning systems to develop a predictive model that recognizes diseases affecting crops in real time.
About categories Young researchers of the yearThe award, which recognizes two researchers who received their doctorates from Italian universities, was awarded to Michele Gini and Hilmar del Carmen Guzmán Medina.
- Michele Ghini, who completed his PhD at the Italian Polytechnic University in collaboration with the University of Genoa, researched technologies based on metal oxide nanocrystals for innovative systems that convert, store and release solar energy in the form of electrical charges. did. His discoveries pave the way for a wide range of future applications in the field of optoelectronics and self-powered devices, as well as the development of direct solar energy storage solutions.
- Hilmar del Carmen Guzman Medina, who received his PhD from the Politecnico di Turin, conducted research on converting carbon dioxide into products such as ethanol and methanol through electrochemical reduction. In particular, we have implemented scalable and reproducible electrodes that operate under ambient conditions. This process is compatible with current energy infrastructure and could lead to a faster transition to a low-carbon economy.
About the section Eni Innovation Award, The award, which selects the most innovative projects developed by Eni researchers and technical experts, included:
- Aldo Bosetti, Carmen Sama (Eni), Luca Madia and Massimo Zampato (Eniprojetti) have developed a “shell-and-tube” configuration for redox processes at high temperatures, e.g. in combination with concentrating photovoltaic systems. obtained a patent for the reactor.
- Antonio Amico, Giulio Assanelli, Lucia Bonoldi, Marcello Notari, Riccardo Po’, Luca Serbolisca (Eni) present an innovative coating with graphite particles with multiple properties (antibacterial, antibacterial, antiviral, anticorrosion, antifouling). Contributed to technical solutions. ;
- Francesco Argento, Andrea Vignali (Eni) and Mauro Favaretto (Eniprogetti) are developing ATEX-certified drones, i.e. drones capable of operating in potentially explosive environments, for monitoring methane emissions in oil and gas plants. We evaluated technical solutions.
The special award “Eni Joule for Entrepreneurship” was also awarded to three startups that particularly stood out for the innovation and sustainability of their proposed entrepreneurial projects.
- RECO2, a startup from Pontecorvo (Frosinone), has patented a beneficial circular economy process for producing a wide range of products useful for sustainable architecture and street furniture through the reuse of industrial waste.
- Ojoskin, a startup from Catania, has developed, patented and produces an alternative fabric to animal skin for use in the fashion, automotive and furniture sectors, produced from orange waste and prickly pear cactus blades. All chains are located in Italy.
- 20energy is a Spoleto start-up that develops, manufactures and sells intelligent devices that convert the kinetic energy consumed by vehicle deceleration into electrical energy that can be used on site or distributed to the grid.
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