MIT and Eni launch Solar Frontiers Center
The center is the result of an alliance signed in February 2008 between Eni and MIT. Over the first two years, the center has produced significant scientific and technological breakthroughs including:
- Construction of the first ultra-flexible solar cell;
- Development of the first solar cell printed on paper;
- Advances in the production of virus-based metal contacts for solar cells;
- Development of solar cells that mimic the photosynthetic process;
- Advances in the understanding of how photosynthesis splits water molecules;
- Construction of a prototype to maximize return on investment in solar thermal plants using parabolic mirrors for sustainable deployment of concentrating solar power.
The alliance with MIT has a duration of five years and involves a financial commitment from Eni for $50 million in total, equally distributed between the Solar Frontiers program and the MIT Energy Initiative (MITEI) -— the research group responsible for the study of solutions aimed at transforming the energy system to meet the challenges of the future, of which Eni is a founding member.
The partnership with MIT is the most important of the various strategic alliances and scientific collaborations signed by Eni with universities and centers of excellence worldwide. In 2007, Eni launched the Eni Award to develop improved uses of renewable energy, promote environmental research and cultivate new generations of researchers. This year, Professor Angela Belcher of MIT was selected as the winner in the "Energy renewable and non-conventional" section, for her innovative and fundamental studies on the development of natural systems able to reconvert and use energy.