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This section presents News and Events of the present year related to activities of FORTH/ICE-HT, as well as News and Events for the past years (at the bottom of the page) sorted by year. In another section there is information concerning Distinctions and Awards of members and groups of FORTH/ICE-HT.


Atmospheric acidity impacts oceanic ecology


Increased acidity in the atmosphere is disrupting the ecological balance of the oceans, according to new research led by the University of East Anglia (UEA).

The first study to look at acidity's impact on nutrient transport to the ocean demonstrates that the way nutrients are delivered affects the productivity of the ocean and its ability to absorb CO2 from the atmosphere.

The research, 'Changing atmospheric acidity as a modulator of nutrient deposition and ocean biogeochemistry', is published today (07.07.2021) in Science Advances. The analysis was carried out by an international team of experts, sponsored by the United Nations Group of Experts on the Scientific Aspects of Marine Environmental Protection (GESAMP).

Prof. Alex Baker, professor of marine and atmospheric chemistry in UEA's School of Environmental Sciences, is the lead author. He said: "Human emissions of pollutants have caused significant changes to the acidity of the atmosphere, leading to well-known environmental impacts such as acid rain."

"Atmospheric acidity affects the quantity and distribution of nutrients (nitrogen, phosphorus and iron) delivered to the ocean."

"Acids attack the surface of desert dust particles as they are transported through the atmosphere, increasing the proportion of the phosphorus and iron contained in those particles that will dissolve when the dust falls into the ocean."

"Our work suggests that increasing acidity since the Industrial Revolution increased the proportions of phosphorus and iron that are soluble by 14 per cent and 16 per cent respectively. These increases will have had a direct fertilizing effect on marine phytoplankton. Over the same time period, pollutant emissions have at least doubled the amount of nitrogen added to the oceans via the atmosphere."

Prof. Maria Kanakidou of the University of Crete in Heraklion, Greece, also contributed to the research using global chemistry transport deposition modelling. She said: "Acidity controls the distribution of nitrogen between particles and gases in the atmosphere, so that changes in acidity alter the length of time that nitrogen remains in the atmosphere and hence where in the ocean it will be deposited. In addition to fertilization, these changes in the amount and geographic distribution of nutrient deposition also affect the ecological balance of the ocean."

Prof. Kanakidou said: "Phytoplankton communities are sensitive to the proportions of nutrients available to them. The changes in nutrient deposition that we have identified will likely have led to ecological shifts as the atmospheric input alters the nutrient balance of surface waters. These changes can promote certain phytoplankton types over others, depending on the organisms' adaptation to the relative levels of nutrients present in the water."

Another team member, Prof. Athanasios Nenes, is from the Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne, Switzerland, and the Center for the Study of Air Quality and Climate Change of the Foundation for Research and Technology Hellas in Patras, Greece. Prof Nenes said: "Fine aerosol particles tend to remain strongly acidic, despite considerable reductions in pollutants. Understanding this counter-intuitive behavior and its impact on nutrient supply to the ocean has only become possible thanks to advances in theory and modelling."

"Anthropogenic emissions will continue to change the acidity of the atmosphere into the future. Emissions controls implemented to address acid rain will reduce aerosol acidity in many regions of the world, while continued economic development is likely to see further increases in acidity in other regions."

"The system is unlikely to return to its pre-Industrial condition, because wildfires - which influence both nutrient supply and acidity - will play a more important role in a warmer climate and the impact of this is highly uncertain."

Prof. Baker said: "Knowledge of the complex interactions between nutrient supply and marine microbial communities is limited. Predictions of the consequences of long-term changes in atmospheric acidity on marine ecosystems will need to be considered alongside other stressors on the system, such as ocean acidification, warming and deoxygenation."

The article is published 7 July 2021 in Science Advances:
Alex R. Baker, Maria Kanakidou, Athanasios Nenes, Stelios Myriokefalitakis, Peter L. Croot, Robert A. Duce, Yuan Gao, Cecile Guieu, Akinori Ito, Tim D., Jickells, Natalie M. Mahowald, Rob Middag, Morgane M. G. Perron, Manmohan M., Sarin, Rachel Shelley and David R. Turner "Changing atmospheric acidity as a modulator of nutrient deposition and ocean biogeochemistry", (2021), DOI: 10.1126/sciadv.abd8800

For more information or to arrange an interview, please contact:

Prof. Alex Baker
Tel.: +44 7984 570246 / +44 1603 591529 /

Prof. Athanasios Nenes
Τel.: +30 2610-965343
Email: ǀ

Prof. Maria Kanakidou
Tel.: +30 2810-545033
Email: ǀ


Workshop on Molecular Characterisation of Interfaces in Atmospheric Aerosol (13 September, 2021)

EPFL, C-STACC, Universite de Lille and University of Gothenburg, together with the European and Japanese Molecular Liquids Group are organizing a workshop on Molecular Characterization of Interfaces in Atmospheric Aerosol, which is a second edition of last year's highly successful meeting. Sponsors of the workshop are the European Research Council and the Swiss National Science Foundation.

This year's workshop will also be virtual, and take place over Zoom on the 13th of September 2021. There will be showcased experimental and theoretical studies of the following topics:

  • heterogeneous ice and droplet nucleation,
  • gas/particle interactions at a molecular scale,
  • surface properties of aerosol particles.

There is an exciting list of invited speakers from the fields of experiments, theory and molecular simulations. Abstract submission for live oral contributions from participants is open. Participation is free of charge, but registration is required. Deadline for registration is 10 July.

For further information please visit:

The Organizers


The pioneering idea of using graphene for the protection of paintings, paving the way for the development of novel methods in art preservation and restoration, has been published today 1.7.21, in Nature Nanotechnology and was also selected at Nature Research Highlights


The exposure of colors used in artworks to ultraviolet (UV) and visible light in the presence of oxidizing agents, triggers color degradation, fading and yellowing. These degradation mechanisms can lead to irreversible alteration of artworks, which consist of a valuable heritage for humankind. Protective varnishes and coatings currently used to protect art paintings are not acceptable solutions, since their removal requires the use of solvents, which can affect adversely the underlying work surface.

A team of researchers from the Institute of Chemical Engineering Sciences of Foundation for Research and Technology-Hellas (FORTH/ ICE-HT), the Department of Chemical Engineering of the University of Patras, and the Center for Colloid and Surface Science (CSGI) of the University of Florence, led by Professor Costas Galiotis, had the innovative idea to use graphene veils for the protection of paintings against environmental degradation.

Since its isolation in 2004 by Geim and Novoselov from the University of Manchester (Nobel Prize in Physics in 2010), graphene has been termed as a 'wonder material' due to its exceptional properties that have already been used in many applications and products. The graphene veil used in this work is a flexible, transparent film, produced by the technique of chemical vapor deposition. It has a monoatomic thickness and, since there are no size limitations in the other dimensions (length and width), it can cover any required large surface areas.

The results from measurements performed in the above mentioned laboratories, showed that this membrane is impermeable to moisture, the oxidizing agents and other harmful pollutants and also can absorb a large amount of harmful ultraviolet radiation. Finally, in contrast to other protective means, it is demonstrated that these graphene coatings are relatively easy to remove without damaging the surface of the artworks.

Galiotis C.
Prof. Costas Galiotis
This important research work was published today (01.07.2021) in the leading high-impact journal of Nature Nanotechnology. Co-authors in this research article was Maria Kotsidi, Dr. George Gorgolis, Dr. Maria-Giovanna Pastore-Carbone, Dr. George Anagnostopoulos, George Paterakis, Dr. Anastasios Manikas and Dr. George Trakakis (FORTH & University of Patras) and Dr. Giovanna Poggi, and Professor Piero Baglioni from the University of Florence.

Article in Nature Nanotechnology:
Kotsidi, M., Gorgolis, G., Pastore Carbone, M.G., Anagnostopoulos G., Paterakis G., Poggi G., Manikas A., Trakakis G., Baglioni P. and Galiotis C., "Preventing colour fading in artworks with graphene veils", Nat. Nanotechnol., (2021), DOI: 10.1038/s41565-021-00934-z

The research work was selected at Nature Research Highlights.

More information:
Costas Galiotis,
Professor of the Department of Chemical Engineering of the University of Patras and collaborating faculty member of FORTH/ICE-HT,
email: ǀ


Advent Technologies at the NASDAQ stock exchange

Advent Technologies, an innovative company in the sectors of fuel cells and hydrogen technology, announces its entry into the NASDAQ Stock Exchange in New York on February 5, 2021, following merger with AMCI Acquisition Corp. It was valued at more than $ 700 million, making its entry on the Nasdaq one of the most successful technological companies of Greek origin to date. Advent was founded in 2005 following initiatives of FORTH/ICE-HT researchers and collaborating professors of the University of Patras. (Press release.)

25.06.2021 - Advent Technologies Enters Into Definitive Agreement to Acquire the Fuel Cell Systems Businesses of Fischer Group.


Prof. Athanasios Nenes was elected as an Ordinary Member of the Academia Europaea

Nenes A. Prof. Athanasios Nenes, Affiliated Scientist of FORTH/ICE-HT, Coordinating Member of the Center for the Study of Air Quality and Climate Change (C-STACC) and Professor at the School of Architecture, Civil and Environmental Engineering, EPFL, Lausanne, Switzerland was elected by Academia Europaea as an Ordinary member of the Academy.

Τhe formal welcome and introduction ceremony will be held during the annual conference event of the Academy, that will take place in Barcelona, in October 19-21, 2022.


Shedding light on the dark side of biomass burning pollution

Illustration of the nocturnal oxidation mechanism. Ozone (O3) from above mixes with air rich in smoke (BB) and nitric oxides (NOx). The nitric oxides react with ozone and produce the nitrate radical (NO3) that causes the rapid oxidation of the smoke.
Research by the teams of Prof. Athanasios Nenes and Spyros Pandis of the Center for Studies on Air Quality and Climate Change (C-STACC) of the Institute of Chemical Engineering Sciences at the Foundation for Research and Technology Hellas (ICE-HT/FORTH) led to the discovery of a chemical mechanism that rapidly produces air pollution from biomass burning during the night. This finding radically changes our view of pollution production from biomass combustion and may explain the paradoxically high levels of oxidized organic particles in urban areas during the winter. The results of the research, conducted under the European ERC program PyroTRACH, can be found in the following scientific article, published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, USA:

Rapid dark aging of biomass burning as an overlooked source of oxidized organic aerosol,
John K. Kodros, Dimitrios K. Papanastasiou, Marco Paglione, Mauro Masiol, Stefania Squizzato, Kalliopi Florou, Ksakousti Skyllakou, Christos Kaltsonoudis, Athanasios Nenes, Spyros N. Pandis,
PNAS, Dec 2020, 117 (52) 33028-33033; DOI: 10.1073/pnas.2010365117.

Prof. Athanasios Nenes (left), Dr. Nicolas Sifakis, Scientific Officer, European Research Council Executive Agency (ERCEA) (middle) and Prof. Spyros Pandis (right) at the combustion chamber facility used to generate biomass burning emissions that is later processed in the Environmental Chamber Facility of C-STACC.
The C-STACC environmental chamber used to oxidize the biomass burning smoke under controlled environmental conditions.


Prof. Athanasios Nenes selected as a Highly Cited Researcher by WoS

Nenes A. Prof. Athanasios Nenes, Affiliated Scientist of FORTH/ICE-HT, Coordinating Member of the Center for the Study of Air Quality and Climate Change (C-STACC) and Professor at the School of Architecture, Civil and Environmental Engineering, EPFL, Lausanne, Switzerland has been selected as a Highly Cited Researcher in the field of Geosciences by Web of Science (WoS). The methodology of this selection is based on the number of his publications and citations, those published and cited during 2009-2019, regarding the population of Researchers in the same field. It is also based on the number of highly cited papers that he has published (Source: Highly Cited Researchers Powered by Web of Science). It is a great honor for Prof. Nenes, as WoS is a widely recognized and reliable platform for the evaluation of scientific work for every Researcher worldwide.


9th Distinguished Lecture "Alkiviades Ch. Payatakes", 14/12/2020

The 2020 "Alkiviades Ch. Payatakes" Distinguished Lecture will be delivered by Professor Antonios G. Mikos, Department of Bioengineering, Rice University, Houston, Texas. The lecture is entitled «Biomaterials for Tissue Engineering and Disease Modeling» and will be held online on Monday, 14 December 2020, 17:00h.
These Distinguished Lectures are organised by FORTH/ICE-HT every year to honor the memory of Professor Alkiviades Ch. Payatakes, Chairman of FORTH (2006-2009) and Director of FORTH/ICE-HT (1999-2006).


Prof. Athanasios Nenes was elected a 2020 AGU Fellow

Nenes A. Prof. Athanasios Nenes, Affiliated Scientist of FORTH/ICE-HT, Coordinating Member of the Center for the Study of Air Quality and Climate Change (C-STACC) and Professor at the School of Architecture, Civil and Environmental Engineering, EPFL, Lausanne, Switzerland was elected by the American Geophysical Union (AGU) Fellows Committee as a member of the 2020 class of AGU Fellows.

The AGU Fellows program was established in 1962 and recognizes AGU members who have made exceptional contributions to Earth and space science through a breakthrough, discovery, or innovation in their field. This honor is bestowed on only to 0.1% of AGU members in any given year.

Since the AGU Fall Meeting for 2020 will take place online, a virtual ceremony to recognize the new Union Fellows will be held on Wednesday, 9 December 2020.


Graphene as effective anti-fading agent for the protection of artworks

The research group of Prof. Costas Galiotis, collaborating faculty member of FORTH/ICE-HT, the University of Florence and the Patras Science Park collaborated in a joint research project with the acronym "GRAPHENART", funded by ERC-PoC, in order to develop multi-functional graphene 'veils' and also paints that incorporate graphene, to provide protection to works of art against UV radiation, oxidation, moisture and many other corrosion agents. This technique is applicable to both old and modern works of art and, particularly, colour paintings. Details of this project have recently appeared in CORDIS, which is the main communication medium of the DG-Research of EU.

This research work has already been patented in Greece (HIPO 1009757), and, with the financial assistance of the Bodossaki Foundation, an international application (PCT) has also been filed and is currently under examination.


The Vilhelm Bjerknes Medal 2021 to Prof. Spyros Pandis, Collaborating Faculty Member of FORTH / ICE-HT

Pandis S. The European Geosciences Union (EGU) will award the Vilhelm Bjerknes Medal for 2021 to Prof. Spyros Pandis, Collaborating Faculty Member of FORTH / ICE-HT, coordinating member of the Center for the Study of Air Quality and Climate Change (C-STACC) and Professor at the Department of Chemical Engineering of the University of Patras. The award is the highest distinction offered in the field of Atmospheric Sciences in Europe. The award ceremony will take place during the EGU Annual Assembly, April 25-30, 2021.


Wildfires at the Nexus of a Climate and Public Health Crisis

Smoke from forest fires and biomass burning can remain in the atmosphere for weeks, traveling thousands of kilometers and affecting climate, public health and ecosystems far away from its source. The climate crisis is increasing the frequency, intensity and impacts from fires globally, which further accelerates climate change and creates crises in public health and ecosystems. The Weather Channel scientific editor Ally Hirschlag wrote an article in BBC and discussed with the affiliated researcher of FORTH/ICE-HT Prof. Athanasios Nenes on the effects of wilfires, including results from his ERC project PyroTRACH hosted by FORTH/ICE-HT and the Center for the Study of Air Quality and Climate Change (C-STACC).


FORTH/ICE-HT on Airborne Transmission of COVID-19

Αn international team of 239 experts in the field of disease and aerosol transmission have signed a letter, which was published on July 6 2020 in the scientific journal "Clinical Infectious Diseases", entitled "It is Time to Address Airborne Transmission of COVID-19". The letter was addressed in an alarming way to the World Health Organization (WHO), which had not been recognizing the airborne transmission of the virus, despite the significant indications and data supporting the opposite. Among the 239 experts, two are coordinating the Center for the Study of Air Quality and Climate Change, C-STACC (Twitter) of the Institute of Chemical Engineering Sciences of the Foundation for Research and Technology-Hellas (FORTH/ICE-HT) in Patras (Prof. Spyros Pandis, Professor of Chemical Engineering Dept., Univ. of Patras and Prof. Athanasios Nenes, Professor of Atmospheric Processes, EPFL, Switzerland). The letter was covered widely by the international media, and had a significant impact as WHO on July 9 acknowledged the possibility of airborne transmission of the virus and revised its recommendations regarding protective measures.


Virtual Workshop on Molecular Simulations of Atmospheric Systems (2-4 June, 2020) co-organized by C-STACC, FORTH/ICE-HT and funded by the ERC PyroTRACH project

The Laboratory of Atmospheric Processes and their Impacts, ENAC, EPFL, and the Center for the Study of Air Quality and Climate Change (C-STACC), FORTH/ICE-HT co-organized the Virtual Workshop on Molecular Simulations of Atmospheric Systems on 2-4 June, 2020.

Conference topics:

  • applicability of molecular simulations for problems related to atmospheric systems
  • aerosol particles
  • aerosol/water interaction
  • ice and droplet nucleation
  • adsorption on solid surfaces


  • Pál Jedlovszky (Hungary)
  • Katerina Karadima (Greece)
  • Ari Laaksonen (Finland)
  • Mária Lbadaoui-Darvas (Switzerland)
  • Josip Lovrić (Sweden)
  • Claudia Marcolli (Switzerland)
  • Milán Szõri (Hungary)
  • Céline Toubin (France)
  • Delphine Vardanega-Bonneton (France)

Funding for this workshop was provided by the ERC PyroTRACH project, for which the hosting organization is FORTH/ICE-HT.

For more information, please refer to the website of the workshop, where you can find the final program, as well as a link to a registration form.




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