Mattia Saccoccio joins Breakthrough Energy’s Innovator Fellows program from NitroVolt in Copenhagen, Denmark. He has five years of experience researching ammonia synthesis. As chief technology officer, Mattia leads the engineering efforts to scale NitroVolt’s technology.
NitroVolt is revolutionizing the nitrogen-based fertilizer industry by giving control of the production to the individual farmer, instead of relying on centralized production facilities. This new method of production cuts emissions from the transportation of the fertilizer and enables farmers to produce the fertilizer they need on demand. The Fellows program will help NitroVolt scale the technology from a lab-based system to a pilot unit capable of producing 1 kg/day of green ammonia.
Mattia completed his Bachelor of Science and Master of Science in energy engineering from the Polytechnic University of Milan (Politecnico di Milano), an engineering degree in energy and process engineering from the Technical University of Munich, and a Doctor of Philosophy in mechanical engineering from the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology. Mattia has been passionate about studying, understanding, and innovating how energy is harvested, converted, and used to better human life on earth since he was a teenager.
What’s the best piece of advice you’ve been given?
“Mens sana in corpore sano,” which means “a healthy mind in a healthy body,” is a motto my father has instilled in me since childhood. This simple advice has helped me to keep a balance between study or work and physical and mental well-being throughout the years.
Who has had the greatest impact on your career path?
Growing up, my parents and grandparents taught me the importance of passion, curiosity, commitment, and service. These teachings and their example are undoubtedly the biggest force shaping my whole career path.
What is your favorite word and why?
I have two favorite words: “optimization,” because I am an engineer and think there is always room for improvement; and “fantasia,” because method and thoroughness alone can’t lead to innovation, and a sprinkle of improvisation, imagination, and out-of-the-box thinking is the right addition to it.
What did you want to be when you grew up?
As a kid I wanted to become an inventor or an explorer. As an engineer, scientist, and now entrepreneur who has lived in five countries across several continents, I think I am on the right path to make my young self very happy.
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