On 29 May REN presented the new jury and regulations for the 'Prémio REN 2013'. The ceremony, which was held during the Sustainable and Innovative Energy Systems Conference, took place at the Champalimaud Foundation in Lisbon. The highpoint of the event was an address by the keynote speaker, Donald Sadoway, who was named one of the world's most influential people by TIME magazine.
The MIT professor, who was visiting Portugal at the invitation of REN, introduced his most recent development: an innovative battery for the electricity grids of the future that has set new standards in energy storage.
The American scientist explained that the liquid metal battery 'is easy to manufacture, which contributes to making it a low-cost product'. The MIT specialist went on to give a practical example of the innovation's usefulness: 'If you have solar panels and one of these batteries in your cellar you can store the energy generated during the day and use it when the sun isn't shining', adding that a refrigerator-sized battery can store enough energy to supply a house for one or two days.
Rui Cartaxo, REN CEO, highlighted in his communication the importance of the 'relationship between businesses and universities' with regard to the applicability of projects such as Professor Sadoway's. The chief executive also added that the REN Prize has been a very important recruitment basis for the company. 'There are many REN prize winners working for the company today. I think this is also a way of stimulating innovation in an area where Portugal has built up remarkable know-how over the last 20 years or so'. In closing, the REN CEO also stated that these initiatives 'project the image of REN as an innovative and dynamic company that is committed to promoting the best work being carried out in our universities'.
This year new regulations have been drawn up for the REN Prize and a new jury has also been chosen. For the new chairman of the jury, João Peças Lopes, the biggest change is in the academic areas eligible for the prize. 'Whereas up to now the regulations were fundamentally geared towards acknowledging work in the fields of electricity and gas, they are now also open to areas such as mathematics, the information and communication sciences and physics. And why? Because the knowledge required for creating and managing the energy system does not come from one area of study alone (...). REN understands this and has reflected this inclusiveness in the prize regulations, which will effectively bring greater recognition for these areas.'
Joining João Peças Lopes on the jury will be Aníbal Santos (REN), Paulo Ferrão (Instituto Superior Técnico), Manuel Matos (Fac. of Engineering, Univ. of Porto), Gomes Martins (Univ. of Coimbra), Luis Marcelino Ferreira (Instituto Superior Técnico), Paulo Bárcia (Nova University), Jorge Vasconcelos (NEWES), Paulo Sena Esteves (OMIP), Albertino Menezes (REN), Pedro Furtado (REN) and Miguel Moreira da Silva (REN).
The presentation ceremony also included a debate moderated by Francisco Ferreira da Silva from Diário Económico newspaper, with the participation of Donald Sadoway, Stathis Peteves, head of the Energy Systems Evaluation unit, João Bento, CEO of EFACEC, João Silva Marques, member of the Siemens Executive Board, and João Claro, the national director of the Carnegie Mellon Portugal Program.
The REN Prize is the oldest scientific prize in Portugal.