Laureates of the 2021 Global Energy Prize announced
photo_2021-09-06 14.56.29
The winners of the 2021 Global Energy Prize were announced on 6th September in Kazan. The laureates were: Russian scientists Zinfer Ismagilov and Suleyman Alakhverdiev, as well as American academic Yi Cui.

The name of the first laureate, Zinfer Ismagilov, was determined on 3rd September at the plenary session of the Eastern Economic Forum in which the presidents of Russia, Kazakhstan and Mongolia took part, as well as the leader of the People’s Republic of China and the Prime Ministers of India and Thailand.

Zinfer Ismagilov was the winner in the category “Conventional Energy” for his fundamental contribution to chemistry of carbon materials and heterogeneous catalysis in the fight against climate change.

Suleyman Allakhverdiev became the laureate in the “Non-conventional energy” category for his outstanding contribution to the development of alternative energy, particularly his design for a system of artificial photosynthesis and for his cycle of scientific works on bioenergy and hydrogen energy.

Yi Cui was selected in the category “New ways of energy application” for his exceptional contributions in nanomaterials design, synthesis and characterisation for energy and the environment, particularly for transformational innovations in battery science

“By choosing these three laureates, I am sure the Global Energy Prize sent out a strong message that scientific and technological innovations in the field of both conventional and non-conventional energy can lead us to a clean energy future,” said Rae Kwon Chung, Nobel Peace Prize Laureate and head of the Global Energy Prize International Award Committee. “I would like to congratulate the hard work of the Secretariat of the Global Energy Association led by Sergey Brilev who successfully expanded the number of countries that produced the nominations from around the world and garnered more than one hundred new candidates.”

The ceremony announcing the names of the laureates took place in the Kazan Town Hall. Taking part in the gala event were the President of the Republic of Tatarstan, Rustam Minnikhanov, the President of the Global Energy Association, Sergey Brilev, as well as members of the International Award Committee – Marta Bonifert from Hungary and Dmitri Bessarabov from South Africa.

Few days before the ceremony, the laureates were determined at a closed session of the International Committee. The Committee required six ballots to determine the winner in some categories. The spirited competition was the result of efforts to internationalise the Global Energy prize undertaken by the association over the past year and a half.

The initial submission of nominations, completed in March 2021, saw a record in terms of both the number of individual nominations (94 compared to 78 in 2020 and 39 in 2019) and in the number of countries taking part (36 compared to 20 in 2020 and 12 in 2019). Each of the nominations was considered by independent experts, who assessed them through a set of fixed criteria, including their scientific “newness” and practical value.

The prize will be presented to the laureates in October during the Russian Energy Week forum, which will be held in Moscow on October 13-15.

The new nomination cycle will open on 1st December, 2021.

Short biographies of the laureates

Zinfer Ismagilov (Russia)

Director of the Institute of Coal Chemistry and Material Science, Siberian Branch of the Russian Academy of Sciences.

In 1969 he graduated from Novosibirsk State University with a degree in chemistry, entered the graduate school of the Institute of Catalysis of the Siberian Branch of the USSR Academy of Sciences and in 1973 defended his Ph.D. In 1988 he defended his doctoral thesis in chemical sciences, and in 1991 he was awarded the title of professor. His main areas of research are coal chemistry, chemistry of carbon materials and heterogeneous catalysis.

He is the manager of many international projects: 9 ISTC projects, 7 projects of the Netherlands Foundation for the Promotion of Science (NOW), 6 projects of the European Union, 3 projects of the Japanese Foundation for the Development of Energy and Industry (NEDO). He has taken part in all International Congresses on Catalysis since 1980 (Tokyo), European Congresses on Catalysis, conferences of the European Materials Research Society (EMRS) and the International Union of Materials Research Society (IUMRS).

He has acted as academic adviser for 29 candidates of sciences and 6 doctors of sciences.

Since 15 November 2019, he is academician at the Department of Chemistry and Materials Science, Siberian Branch of the Russian Academy of Sciences (coal chemistry).

Suleyman Allakhverdiev (Russia)

Head of the Controlled Photobiosynthesis Laboratory at the K.A. Timiryazev Institute of Plant Physiology of the Russian Academy of Sciences (RAS, Moscow), Allakhverdiev is also a Chief Research Scientist at the RAS Institute of Basic Biological Problems (Pushchino, Moscow Region).

In 1984, he obtained PhD in Physics and Mathematics (Biophysics) from the Institute of Biophysics of the USSR Academy of Sciences (Pushchino, Moscow Region). In 2002, he got his Dr. Sci. Degree in Plant Physiology and Biochemistry from the Institute of Plant Physiology of the Russian Academy of Sciences (Moscow). Allakhverdiev has discovered, detected and explained the participation of pheophytin in electron transfer in the PS II reaction centre (his Ph.D. thesis).

He has suggested and proved energy and kinetic schemes of electron transfer during photosynthesis. His work has also proved that in photosynthesis, water oxidation and oxygen evolution occur involving 4 manganese atoms. Having become a valuable contribution to biology, those results have been included in all textbooks in the photosynthesis field. During the last 25 years, Allakhverdiev has also worked in a new scientific discipline – the development of artificial photosynthesis systems in order to obtain molecular hydrogen as an alternative energy source.

Yi Cui (USA)

Director of the Precourt Institute for Energy at Stanford University, co-director of the StorageX Initiative, professor of materials science and engineering.

A cleantech pioneer and entrepreneur, Cui earned his bachelor’s degree in chemistry in 1998 from the University of Science & Technology of China and his PhD in chemistry from Harvard University in 2002. He was a Miller Postdoctoral Fellow at the University of California, Berkeley from 2002 to 2005 before joining the Stanford faculty. Cui manages a large Stanford research group, from which alumni have succeeded in academia and business. He has founded five companies to commercialise the energy and environment technologies from his lab: Amprius, 4C Air, EEnotech, EnerVenue and LifeLab Design Inc.

A preeminent researcher of nanotechnologies for better batteries and other sustainability technologies, Cui has published more than 500 studies and is one of the world’s most cited scientists. In 2021, the U.S. Department of Energy awarded Cui an Ernest Orlando Lawrence Award which honours mid-career scientists and engineers in eight research fields. Other awards include: Materials Research Society Medal (2020), Electro Chemical Society Battery Technology Award (2019), Nano Today Award (2019), Blavatnik National Laureate (2017), and the Sloan Research Fellowship (2010).


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September 2021