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Eni Awards 2018: the prize for scientific research assigned today in the presence of the President of Italy


The Eni Awards ceremony took place today at the Palazzo del Quirinale in the presence of the President of Italy Sergio Mattarella, Eni Chairman Emma Marcegaglia and CEO Claudio Descalzi.

This year marks the 11th edition of the award, also known as the “Nobel Prize for Energy”, which has, over the years, become an internationally recognised award for outstanding research in the energy and environment sectors, underlining the importance for scientific research and innovation for Eni.

This year, the Energy Transition award was given to Omar M. Yaghi of the University of California – Berkeley, for his research on new types of material with a wide range of potential applications, ranging from methane storage for low emission level vehicles, to CO2 capture and storage, and even to capturing water from moisture in desert area atmospheres using sunlight as an energy source.

The Energy Frontiers award went to Zhong Lin Wang of the Georgia Institute of Technology for the development of electric nanogenerators capable of collecting energy from movements or vibrations from daily activities and from our environment in order to power both individual electronic devices and to generate renewable energy on a large scale from ocean waves.

The award for Advanced Environmental Solutions went to Sang Yup Lee from the Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (KAIST) for his ground-breaking work in microbial strain production and bioprocesses for the low environmental impact production of chemical products, fuels and materials.

Eni’s awards for young researchers

Two categories of awards are reserved for young emerging African and Italian researchers.

The Young Talents from Africa award is assigned to the best research by African students offers them the opportunity to join doctoral programmes in leading Italian universities.

Emerance Jessica Claire D’Assise Goma-Tchimbakala of Marien Ngouabi University was recognised for her studies into the bacteria present in various types of hydrocarbon polluted soils in Congo and evaluating their potential capacity to break down those pollutants. Elvis Tinashe Ganda of the Durban University of Technology was awarded for his studies on the production of fuels and products derived from renewable materials, aimed at improving the waste management cycle.

The two award winners from 2017, Blessing Onyeche Ugwoke (Nigeria) and Yemane Kelemework Equbamariam (Ethiopia) are working on PhDs at the Politecnico di Torino and the Federico II University of Naples respectively.

The Young Researchers of the Year award is aimed at young PhD students at Italian universities for their theses.

Gianluca Longoni, University of Milano Bicocca, received the award for his work on the development of low environmental impact material for innovative batteries, which could replace lithium batteries in the future. Along with Longoni, Michele De Bastiani of the University of Padova - Italian Institute of Technology, received an award for research into increasing the stability of third generation solar cells, moving toward a new class of photovoltaic systems.

Since its inception in 2007, over 9 thousand candidates have submitted their research projects with more than 27 Nobel prize winners involved in the Scientific Commission responsible for evaluating them. Over 700 research projects were submitted for this year’s award.

An Eni Award winner in 2013, Professor Francis H. Arnold of Caltech was awarded the Nobel Prize for chemistry this year, a testament to the Eni Awards being at the forefront of innovation.

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