Faces of MACBETH: Serena Agnolin (TUE)

  • 26/06/2023

In the coming months, we will introduce you to some of the people working on MACBETH. For our first portrait, we spoke with Serena Agnolin of TUE. She told about herself and her research work on MACBETH. We hope, you enjoy getting to know her. 

  • Tell us something about yourself.

My name is Serena Agnolin and I was born in a town called Colleferro, close to Rome, Italy. I have lived most of my life in the north of Italy though, where I completed my education in chemical and process engineering at University of Padova. I moved to The Netherlands when I was 24 years old to join the group of professor Gallucci as a PhD student. We work on sustainable processes for the chemical industry.
I am now 28 years old and I love traveling, good food and to share happy memories with the people I love.

  • Do you have a scientific role model? Who is your favorite scientist?

My favorite scientist is Rita Levi Montalcini. She was an Italian neurobiologist who won the Nobel prize for medicine back in 1986. Due to her Jewish roots, she had to briefly interrupt her academic journey due to the Racial Laws against Italian Jewish population, but this never stopped her: she even built a lab in her own house and kept doing what she loved. She has taught many young scientists about persistence and the importance of research as a tool to helping others, not only to make discoveries.

  • How did you come to join the MACBETH team?

Technical University of Eindhoven is a partner in the MACBETH project. I have joined the project as PhD student.

  • In which MACBETH case are you involved?

I am involved in the H2 line, working on developing new membranes for the membrane assisted steam reforming reactor. The membranes I try to fabricate are on steel based supports, which could provide an alternative to the currently used ceramic ones.

  • How does your typical day look like working on MACBETH?

My typical day is spent in the laboratory, trying to fabricate new membranes. To make these new membranes several steps are needed, and we even made a nice video about it: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ih6zTFUnFqc.

Usually, I evaluate every step of membrane preparation using several characterization techniques. At the end of the laboratory day, I collect all data and analyze them at my computer, trying to create a cohesive story to tell at our next hydrogen line MACBETH meeting.

  • What was your biggest challenge so far?

The biggest challenge of my PhD is to find ways to create selective membranes on the new steel-based supports. It is something that needs to be created from scratch, so it is always challenging to make it work.

  • What is your biggest success/achievement so far?

My biggest achievement was being able to synthesize selective membranes with the method I developed. I was then able to present results to conferences and to the partners of MACBETH.


Serena’s LinkedIn account is: https://www.linkedin.com/in/serena-agnolin-4aa21b151/.