September 25, 2019

Yara's Birkeland Prize awarded to Rokas Sažinas

The 100,000 NOK Birkeland Prize in chemistry is awarded to Rokas Sažinas, Ph.D., by global crop nutrition company Yara, for his contribution to studying new materials for hydrogen technology.
Yara's Birkeland Prize awardee Rokas Sažinas
Svein Flatebø (Senior Advisor, Yara), Rokas Sažinas (Winner of Yara’s Birkeland Prize 2019) and Nathalie Skovholt (Corporate Marketing Manager, Yara)
Yara's Birkeland Prize awardee Rokas Sažinas
Svein Flatebø (Senior Advisor, Yara), Rokas Sažinas (Winner of Yara’s Birkeland Prize 2019) and Nathalie Skovholt (Corporate Marketing Manager, Yara)

Lithuanian material scientist Rokas Sažinas (30) receives the Birkeland Prize in chemistry for his research into the properties of the proton-conducting ceramic material BZY. The material can be used to store renewable energy as hydrogen.

– Winning the prize was a wonderful surprise. It is a great honor to receive such recognition already at the PhD level. The prize is not only a motivation for me personally, but also ensures that the methods I applied will be developed further and used for more research, Sažinas said.

Sažinas will receive the prize of NOK 100,000 for his doctoral dissertation, which he completed at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU) in Trondheim in 2017. He is currently a postdoc at the Danish Technological University in Copenhagen. He previously worked for several years as a researcher in organic chemistry at the Vilnius University.

The Birkeland Prize is awarded each year by global crop nutrition company Yara for a PhD project at a Norwegian university, alternating between chemistry and physics.

The ceremony is held in Oslo on September 24th.

– At Yara we are always searching for better solutions that enable more environmentally friendly, cheaper, and in the long run climate-neutral production. As a global industry player, we need young, brilliant minds such as Sažinas’. We congratulate him with the prize, said Tove Andersen, EVP Production at Yara.

In order to study the properties of BZY, Sažinas developed new methods that go beyond the traditional separation between chemistry and material science. His results indicate that the material can endure high chemical and mechanical stress. This makes it a promising candidate material for developing safer and better technology for producing and burning hydrogen.

Birkeland Prize jury
The Birkeland Committee (standing from left to right): Svein Flatebø (Yara), Øyvind Sørensen, Jøran Idar Moen, Pål Brekke, Alv Egeland. Sitting: Jan Anstein Holtet and Professor Tuija I. Pulkkinen (Birkeland Lecturer 2019)

The jury emphasized the high academic quality of the dissertation, its importance for developing sustainable technology further, and that the methods it introduced can be used to grow our understanding of other materials.

About Yara

Yara grows knowledge to responsibly feed the world and protect the planet, to fulfill our vision of a collaborative society, a world without hunger and a planet respected. To meet these commitments, we have taken the lead in developing digital farming tools for precision farming and work closely with partners throughout the whole food value chain to develop more climate-friendly crop nutrition solutions. In addition, we are committed to working towards sustainable mineral fertilizer production. We foster an open culture of diversity and inclusion that promotes the safety and integrity of our employees, contractors, business partners, and society at large. Founded in 1905 to solve the emerging famine in Europe, Yara has a worldwide presence with about 17,000 employees and operations in over 60 countries. In 2018, Yara reported revenues of USD 12.9 billion.


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Nathalie Skovholt photo
Nathalie Skovholt
Corporate Marketing Manager
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