(AGI) Rome, May 29 - Eni has announced the names of researchersand scientists nominated for the eighth annual Eni Award, aprize established in 2007 that has become over the years apoint of reference for international research in the field ofenergy and the environment. The Eni Award is aimed at promotinga better use of energy sources and stimulating new generationsof researchers, thus bearing witness to the great importancethat Eni places on scientific research and on the issue ofsustainability. The "New Frontiers of Hydrocarbons Prize" forthe Upstream category was awarded to Johan Olof AndersRobertsson, of the Zurich-based ETH, for his recent researchconducted in collaboration with Dirk-Jan van Manen, Ali Ozbek,Massimillano Vassalo and Kemal Ozdemir. Their research focusedon the development of innovative technology for the acquisitionand modelling of sea-prospecting data using acoustic (seismic)methods, capable of overcoming the current limits ofvisualising and classifying underground features while alsorespecting the environment. For the Downstream category, theprize went to Helmut Schwarz of the Technische Universitat inBerlin. The work of Prof. Schwarz focused on a fundamentalproblem of modern research: the activation of methane for itsconversion into heavier (e.g. ethane/ethylene) or oxygenated(e.g. methanol, formaldehyde) hydrocarbons. This directtransformation may make exploitation of the huge reserves ofnatural gas present in remote fields and its transportation toareas of use more feasible. The Award for the "Renewable EnergyPrize" category went to Mercouri Kanatzidis, from NorthwesternUniversity in Evanston (Illinois, USA), one of theinternational leaders in solid state chemistry. His researchfocuses on the development of new solid state semiconductorscapable of recovering waste heat and converting it directlyinto electricity. Menachem Elimelech, Professor Emeritus atYale University, received the "Protection of the EnvironmentPrize" Award. Prof. Elimelech is considered a pioneer inapplication of the "Forward Osmosis" process for thedesalination of high-salinity water. That innovative process,which uses low-grade heat as an energy source, is used for thetreatment of water associated with oil drilling activities, andhas proved to be more energy-efficient and environmentallyfriendly than current desalination technologies, with apositive ecological footprint. The two "Debut in research"Awards, given to researchers under 30 years of age who haveacquired a PhD at an Italian University, went to Daniela Meroniand Margherita Maiuri. Daniela Meroni's dissertation addressesthe applicability of titanium dioxide (TiO2) in environmentalreclamation processes, which is considered to be very promisingdue to its limited cost, non-toxicity and stability. The thesisof Margherita Maiuri studies the main mechanisms that governthe collection of solar radiation through the spectroscopicobservation of ultrashort optical pulses. The exceptionalscientific quality of the work carried out is demonstrated bythe publication of the results in high-level internationalscientific journals such as Science, the Journal of theAmerican Chemical Society and Nature Materials. (AGI).