International research award for top scientist C.N.R. Rao

Eminent scientist C.N.R. Rao received the coveted Eni International award for research in energy, the Jawaharlal Nehru Centre for Advanced Scientific Research (JNCASR) announced on Thursday.

“Rao has been conferred the prestigious ‘Energy Frontiers’ award in recognition of his research in renewable energy sources and energy storage,” it said, in a statement.

Rao, 86, was the founder-director of the JNCASR.

“Rao has been working on hydrogen gas as the only source of energy for the benefit of humankind. Hydrogen storage, photochemical and electrochemical production of hydrogen, solar production of hydrogen and non-metallic catalysis were the highlights of his work,” it said.

Considered equivalent to the Nobel Prize in energy research, the Eni award 2020 will be presented to Rao on October 14 by Italian President Sergio Mattarella at Quirinal Palace in Rome. The award has a cash prize and a minted gold medal.

“The award is a testimony to Rao’s work on metal oxides, carbon nanotubes and two-dimensional systems, including graphene, boron-nitrogen-carbon hybrid materials and molybdenum sulphide for energy applications and green hydrogen production,” said the statement.

Rao worked in all three areas and developed innovative materials, which have beneficial properties for building hydrogen storage systems and supercapacitors, with specific power and an increasing number of charge-discharge cycles.

“The award aims to promote better use of energy sources and encourage new generations of researchers in their work. It denotes the importance Eni places on scientific research and innovation,” added the statement.

Rao is a recipient of the Bharat Ratna, India’s top civil honour.