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Meet the Finalists of the 2023 ISSNAF Young Investigator Franco Strazzabosco Award

Established in 2013 by the Strazzabosco family in memory of Dott. Ing. Franco Strazzabosco, this award is a tribute to the entrepreneurial courage of Italian engineers who strive to apply scientific discoveries to the public advantage.

The finalists of the 2023 edition are awesome! Warmest congratulations to Matteo Bertagni, Luigi Osmieri, and Lorenzo Rosa!

Learn about the exciting and innovative research they presented at the Symposium on October 18, 2023 to the Jury chaired by Prof. Alberto Salleo, Stanford University.

The Award winner will be announced at the 2023 ISSNAF Annual Event on November 8.

Matteo Bertagni

Matteo Bertagni is an environmental engineer who is passionate about science and nature. He did his bachelor's at the Universita' di Trieste (Italy) and then a master's and Ph.D. at the Politecnico di Torino (Italy). He joined Princeton University as a postdoctoral researcher at the Carbon Mitigation Initiative in 2020. His current research focuses on the potential and limitations of low-carbon energy solutions and climate change mitigation strategies. He hopes the world can limit climate change without developing new environmental problems.

Research focus

My research at the Carbon Mitigation Initiative (CMI) at Princeton University focuses on climate change mitigation through nature-based solutions and novel, low-carbon energy carriers. Specifically, I have been leading research on the environmental consequences of hydrogen (H2) energy, including the climate impacts of H2 emissions, the water footprint of H2 production, and the risks associated with using ammonia (NH3) as an H2 carrier. Understanding the environmental benefits and risks of H2 energy is critical for making informed decisions and ensuring a sustainable integration of H2 into the energy market and in the portfolio of climate-change mitigation solutions.

About Matteo

I am an environmental engineer, enthusiastic about science and nature, and with expertise in modeling earth-water-atmosphere systems. I aim to understand, quantify, and gain predictive power on critical natural and human-impacted environmental processes and use this knowledge to inform effective policy decisions. My current focus at the Carbon Mitigation Initiative (CMI) at Princeton University is climate change mitigation. I believe it is our duty as environmental scientists and teachers to educate the younger generations and guide global efforts to a more sustainable and fair society.

Luigi Osmieri

Luigi Osmieri received the B.Sc. (Laurea), M.Sc. (Laurea Specialistica) and Ph.D. (Dottorato di Ricerca) in chemical engineering from the Politecnico di Torino, Italy. The topic of his Ph.D. research was the development and testing of precious metal-free electrocatalysts for oxygen reduction reaction with application to low temperature fuel cells. After graduating, he worked as a research assistant at the Universidad Autónoma de Madrid and at the Politecnico di Torino. In 2017 he moved to the U.S.A. to join the National Renewable Energy Laboratory as a postdoctoral researcher. In October 2020 he was awarded the “Department of Energy Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Technologies Office’s Postdoctoral Recognition Award” (runner-up). In November 2020 he joined Los Alamos National Laboratory, where he was awarded the prestigious Director’s Postdoctoral Research Fellowship in June 2021, and then promoted to Staff Scientist in January 2023. Dr. Osmieri’s main research interests are precious metal-free electrocatalysts, electrode engineering, and electrochemical diagnostics with application to low-temperature electrochemical energy conversion devices such as polymer electrolyte fuel cells and electrolyzers. He is the author of 38 publications, with more than 1750 citations and an H-index of 24.

Research focus

My research directly addresses the important challenge of producing "green" hydrogen via water electrolysis using electricity from renewable sources and utilizing it in fuel cells at a competitive cost. Polymer electrolyte water electrolyzers and fuel cells are especially attractive due to the close to ambient operating conditions and fast startup/shutdown, enabling an effective use and storage of the intermittent electricity from renewable sources (e.g., solar, wind). The widespread deployment of these devices has been so far challenged by their high cost, which is due in large portion to the use of expensive and rare platinum group metals (PGMs) as catalysts. My research focuses on the synthesis, characterization and testing of PGM-free catalysts for oxygen reduction, oxygen evolution, and hydrogen evolution reactions. The catalysts I developed are made of earth-abundant and inexpensive materials such as carbon and transition metals like iron and nickel. Through advanced characterization techniques, I provided insights about how the integration of these catalysts into fuel cells and electrolyzers electrodes impacts the devices’ performance. In addition, I developed innovative procedures based on in-situ electrochemical diagnostics that enabled defining the relationship between the electrodes’ structure and performance, and to elucidate the associated performance degradation mechanisms.

About Luigi

I am willing to collaborate and establish interactions with the ISSNAF community. I am available to host and mentor students and postdocs in my research group. The topic of research is electrocatalysts for polymer electrolyte fuel cells, water electrolyzers, and CO2 electrolyzers.

Lorenzo Rosa

Lorenzo Rosa is a Principal Investigator at Carnegie Institution for Science and an Assistant Professor (by courtesy) at Stanford University. He was a postdoctoral fellow at ETH Zurich. He holds a Ph.D. in Environmental Science from University of California Berkeley, and a B.S. and M.S. in Environmental Engineering from Politecnico di Milano, Italy.

Lorenzo’s research program quantifies the potential benefits and unintended climate and environmental consequences of innovations engineered to satisfy the increasing global demands for energy, water, and food. He quantifies the challenges posed by climate change to agriculture and assesses various strategies for reducing the environmental impacts of farming. Lorenzo has produced impactful and actionable research that informs sustainable development policies as well as investments to promote food, energy, and water security.

Lorenzo’s contributions to science and society have been recognized through multiple awards, including the 2019 American Geophysical Union (AGU) Hydrology Research Grant and the 2021 AGU Science for Solutions Award. The latter award is given for his contributions to understanding global water-energy-food linkages and solutions to benefit humanity and nature. He was also listed among the most influential young leaders in Science and Technology of the year 2020 by Forbes 30 Under 30.;;

Research focus

Lorenzo’s main research interests are climate change mitigation and adaptation solutions to food, energy, and water systems. His research focuses on understanding the opportunities and challenges of satisfying global demand for energy, water, and food without further exacerbating climate change and environmental degradation. He addresses this research by combining data-driven machine learning, Earth System models, and Climate models. Lorenzo is widely known for his work on water sustainability and the feedback of irrigated agriculture, on the global water-energy-food nexus, and on quantifying avenues to achieve net-zero energy emissions in agriculture. Major findings include the role of irrigation and fertilizers to adapt agriculture to climate change and the influence of climate mitigation technologies on the sustainability of Earth System.

About Lorenzo

Lorenzo's research program seeks to measure ways to boost agricultural productivity and foster sustainability. Lorenzo is an avid sportsman, when he is not at his desk, you can find him running, cycling, swimming, and skiing. In his career as an athlete, he won the Regional and Italian Championships in mountain running.

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