UniCat professor Helmut Schwarz has been selected to receive one of this year’s Eni Awards. Established by the Italian energy company Eni S.p.A., the award comes with €200,000. The award is being conferred on Schwarz in the category New Frontiers of Hydrocarbons in honor of Schwarz’s basic research in the area of converting methane into heavier (such as ethane/ethylene) or oxygenated (such as methanol, formaldehyde) hydrocarbons. Especially the conversion into ethylene is a major topic of UniCat, c.f. Research Field D1.
This direct transformation of methane may make exploitation of the huge reserves of natural gas present in remote fields and its transportation to areas of use more feasible. The extensive research conducted by Prof. Schwarz with the combined use of experimental techniques and advanced theoretical approaches is a primary source of knowledge on these reactions and the results obtained could lead to important technological discoveries in the near future.
The Eni Awards were established in 2007. With this award, the Italian company Eni S.p.A. honors international scientists who conduct research in the field of energy with a special focus on ways to make better and more sustainable use of sources of energy. Schwarz is the second German to receive this award. The first was Stefan Glunz in 2008. The award ceremony will be held in Italy in September.
Schwarz has been a professor of chemistry at the Technical University of Berlin since 1983 and the President of the Humboldt Foundation since 2008. He worked at several research institutes in several other countries, including England, Israel, France and Japan. He is a member of various academies and panels, and served as vice-president of the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (German Research Foundation). Schwarz has received numerous awards for his basic research work. These awards include the Officer's Cross of the Order of Merit of the Federal Republic of Germany, the Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz Award of the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft, the Max Planck Research Award, the Liebig Medal of the Gesellschaft Deutscher Chemiker (GDCh - the German Chemical Society), the Blaise Pascal Medal in Chemistry of the European Academy of Sciences, Schrödinger Medal of the World Association of Theoretical and Computational Chemists, and in 2015 the Karl Ziegler Award of the Gesellschaft Deutscher Chemiker.