Restek Helps Italian University Students Launch Startup

The O-Zone Team from the University of Padua, Italy.

Restek is helping a team of students in Italy at the University of Padua that is building a device to analyze the air quality at different altitudes by donating gas sampling bags and other air sampling tools.

The O-Zone Team is a group of students interested in the environment who want to make a difference. Polluted cities and a lack of awareness of the resulting health effects inspired the students to begin building an inexpensive and easy-to-use device capable of analyzing the air at different heights. Several UniPD faculty are involved with the O-Zone team: Professor Alessandro Francesconi is responsible for the team’s project, Dr. Federico Toson is a team leader, and Dr. Antonino Pitarresi is responsible for contacting companies for participation in the project. The O-Zone team hopes to encourage companies and governments to use the device to take quick measurements of air pollution to help monitor factories and farms, protect nature reserves, and make assessments following natural disasters such as volcanic eruptions and fires.

In February, these students reached out to Restek’s office in Italy for help turning their idea into a prototype. Stefano Ongarato, Restek’s sales manager in Italy, and Becky Wittrig, Restek’s vice president of sales in Bellefonte, Pennsylvania, were excited to help the student scientists, not only with donations but also by offering advice and chemical expertise over video conference.

“They had really interesting ideas and we helped find ways to test them,” said Ongarato; “I’m looking forward to visiting their lab and helping even more this summer.”

In October, the O-Zone Team will launch their prototype into the air using a high-altitude BEXUS balloon as part of the REXUS/BEXUS project, which offers university students from across Europe the opportunity to carry out scientific and technological experiments on research rockets and balloons. Each year, two rockets and two balloons are launched, carrying up to 20 experiments designed and built by student teams.

The O-Zone Team’s device will collect air samples at different altitudes from the ground up to 35 kilometers in the air—which is four times the height of Mount Everest!

Said Pitarresi, “with these tools for testing our experiment, we can accomplish our mission of a cleaner planet. We thank Restek for the support of our mini-startup.”

To learn more about the O-Zone Team, visit www.ozone-team.com

www.restek.com