Research for clean and sustainable energy. An Interview with Federico Testa, President of ENEA
What is the role of research and training in a changing world? And how can we tackle the most current challenges in the fields of energy and the environment? We talked about this with the President of ENEA, Federico Testa, who we met at the presentation of the sixth edition of the Hausmann & Co - Patek Philippe Award.
This year, ENEA has received an award and a contribution from the watch brands Hausmann & Co - Patek Philippe…
We are very happy to participate in this initiative since this is the signal that, finally, the message is getting through that research is strategic for the future of our country and that it is even more strategic for the younger generations.
What is the initiative all about?
On the one hand, there are the awards for researchers, on the other, there is a contribution to the development and promotion of a facility that we intend to set up in our research centre near Rome, in Casaccia, to give students and schools the opportunity to better understand the new energy sources, which can also serve as a training centre for university students. We believe that only through the transfer of knowledge will we really be able to change our mentality and move towards a new world.
Energy is a research and innovation sector with a strong social impact. What are the main lines of research ENEA works on?
We work a lot on traditional renewables, which have grown most in recent years. But then there is, for example, the concentrating solar power technology, which is an ENEA patent we are very much interested in because it allows energy to be stored, thus solving one of the main problems with renewable sources, that is, their being intermittent and non-programmable. Then, of course, there is the frontier of nuclear fusion, that is to say of large but clean power generation plants, which do not have any impact on the environment, either in terms of radioactive waste or in terms of production of other pollutants.
On what level is it more urgent to respond sustainably to the energy challenge?
For some issues we must find a way to make some of the technologies that are creating problems at the moment more sustainble. I am thinking of biomass, or even of biogas and biofuels, where the real issue is to be able to have technologies that, on the one hand, are not in competition with the food supply chain and that, on the other hand, can be used without producing consequences for the environment.