Energy and sustainability, an award for innovation to ENEA young talents
Support for young researchers in the field of energy and sustainability comes from the Hausmann & Co - Patek Philippe Award, promoted by the well-known watch brands. Now in its sixth edition, the award this year intends to promote the talent of ENEA young researchers.
The details of the initiative were presented in Rome at a meeting opened by ENEA President Federico Testa, who presented Campus delle energie, ENEA’s new training centre that will be built at the Centre of Casaccia, thanks to a contribution from Hausmann & Co.
Designed to host high school and university students and young researchers, the new ENEA school-laboratory is intended as a “seedbed” for the spread and promotion of the culture of energy efficiency and sustainability among young people.
The Campus will be built near Lake Bracciano, about 30 kilometres from Rome: the Casaccia area that already hosts important ENEA facilities and projects, including the smart house, a high energy efficient experimental building where innovative air conditioning technologies, powered by renewable sources, and advanced home automation systems are adopted and tested.
In addition to the contribution to the creation of the Campus, Hausmann & Co this year supports talents “under 40” by awarding young ENEA researchers that have distinguished themselves in research in the fields of energy, new technologies, food safety, health, environment and climate.
Winners include the owners of three patents for particularly promising inventions.
One of these patents covers an innovative process for the environmentally sustainable production of autoclaved aerated concrete, a building material with high performance thermal and acoustic insulation, obtained without the use of plaster or lime. The main novelty of the process patented by ENEA is the replacement of aluminium powder – a highly flammable substance – with brewer’s yeast and hydrogen peroxide, with significant advantages in terms of cost and sustainability, compared to the methods currently used in the production of traditional autoclaved “cellular” concrete on the market.
The second patent awarded, in a completely different sector, is a method for the biotechnological production of crocin, the molecule responsible for the red colour of saffron stigmas. Used as a natural medicine since ancient times, this substance is a powerful dye and antioxidant. However, its extensive use is hindered by the high cost of saffron. This is an aspect that the ENEA patent aims to overcome thanks to the innovative method for the extraction of crocin from other plants. The objective is not, however, to replace saffron in cooking since it has extraordinary organoleptic properties.
The third patent deals with an antiseismic system for walls that can be applied to both new and existing buildings. It is a kit consisting of corded planks and hemp fibre panels that can be combined to contain, in the event of shocks, the risk of “expulsion” of infill walls – the elements that divide the environments of a building – with consequent damage or injuries. A solution that combines safety, energy saving and sustainability.