The 2022 Global Energy Prize Laureates Announced
Laureates of the 2022 Global Energy Prize announced
The Global Energy Association announced the 2022 Prize laureates in Khanty-Mansiysk on 12 July. The winners are Viktor Orlov from Russia and two scientists from the USA - Mercouri Kanatzidis and Kaushik Rajashekara. The ceremony was attended by Natalia Komarova, Governor of Khanty-Mansi Autonomous Okrug-Yugra; Rae Kwon Chung, Chairman of the Global Energy Prize International Award Committee, members of the Committee William Byun and Dmitri Bessarsbov and Sergey Brilev, President of the Global Energy Association.

Viktor Orlov is the laureate in the Conventional Energy nomination: for the fundamental research on development of innovative energy technologies based on the fast-neutron reactors with a heavy alloy coolant and a closed fuel cycle.

Mercouri Kanatzidis is selected in the Non-Conventional Energy category: for the major advances made in solar energy conversion with the use of novel perovskite halides.

Kaushik Rajashekara is the winner in the New Ways of Energy Applications category: for outstanding contributions to transportation electrification and energy efficiency technologies while reducing power generation emissions.

The laureates were selected by the International committee of scientists from 11 countries: China, Hungary, India, Japan, Singapore, South Africa, Switzerland, the United Arab Emirates (UAE), and South Korea.

“Our region is unique in its natural resources. We have more than 300 000 large and small rivers, including the Ob and Irtysh, the unique wetlands of international importance such as Upper and Lower Dvuobye. Yugra is one of the five largest forest regions in Russia, and also provides 5% of world crude oil production. We understand the importance of preserving the environment, therefore we are extremely interested in cooperation in this area. I hope you enjoyed our Siberian-Taiga region. We are waiting for you to visit us on vacation or to introduce our developments at the enterprises of the fuel and energy complex of the region. Welcome to Yugra, Natalia Komarova, the governor of Khanty-Mansi Autonomous Okrug-Yugra, said in her welcoming address.

The Global Energy Prize is pleased to announce three laureates for their outstanding scientific achievements in the field of fast nuclear reactors (a laureate from Russia), innovations in the transportation electrification, and a breakthrough in solar energy conversion (the laureates from the USA) I am convinced that their scientific discoveries will accelerate transition to carbon neutrality”, said Rae Kwon Chung, a Nobel Peace Prize laureate and the International Committee Chairman.

The choice to be made by the International Committee was not easy as the number of applicants and participating countries was a record high this year, i.e. 119 applications and 43 countries (against 36 in 2021 and 20 in 2020). Fifteen applications with the highest average score (five in each category) entered the shortlist, on the basis of which the International Committee made their decision.

All recent events prove that hydrocarbons have a great future. At the same time, an important trend is the accelerating growth in demand for electricity, which generates an investment boom in the industries where the Prize laureates specialise. This includes nuclear power, without which it is impossible to reduce emissions, as well as electric vehicles, which are fundamentally changing road transportation, and, finally, solar energy, which is the leader among renewables in terms of off-grid generators commissioning. This once again emphasises close relationship between both science and a practical sector in the power industry,” said Sergey Brilev, the President of the Global Energy Association.

The awarding ceremony will be held during the Russian Energy Week to take place in Moscow on 12-14 October 2022.

The next nomination cycle starts on December 01, 2022.

The laureates’ biographies in brief

Viktor Orlov

Doctor of Physics and Mathematics, Chief Specialist of the Centre for Innovative Technologies (Rosatom).

One of the pioneers in thermonuclear physics: Viktor Orlov identified and evaluated possible solutions to the main engineering problems of thermonuclear reactors and described the key principles of designing the tokamak, the first thermonuclear reactor, from both physical and technical points of view. Viktor Orlov also proposed to provide an increase in global energy through the innovative nuclear technology based on an environmentally friendly fast-neutron reactor with a closed fuel cycle and a heavy metal coolant. Feasibility of this concept was confirmed by a pilot fast neutron reactor with a lead coolant, designed under Orlov’s supervision.

Viktor Orlov has made a valuable contribution to the theory of resonance absorption and neutron diffusion in active media with resonance cross sections. His main achievements include the synthesis of the Gurevich-Pomeranchuk and Wigner theories, the interaction effect of lumped uranium in narrow long beams, and the analysis of the thermal Doppler effect. His discoveries served as an important basis for designing the first reactors for nuclear power plants and submarines. In collaboration with Guriy Marchuk, Viktor Orlov managed to apply a perturbation theory to linear and nonlinear neutron flux functionals, which helped improve nuclear reactor physics and even create the first optimisation programmes.

Mercouri Kanatzidis

Professor of the Department of Chemistry and Professor of Materials Science at Northwestern University (USA), Senior Researcher at the Argonne National Laboratory.

One of the most highly cited chemists with over 1,450 published scientific papers and over 40 patents. He trained over 90 PhDs and about 120 post-doctoral fellows. Born in Greece, he received a bachelor’s degree from the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki and a PhD from the University of Iowa (USA). Prior to moving to Northwestern University in 2006, he was Distinguished Professor at Michigan State University.

Professor Kanatzidis is working on creation of the materials used in renewable energy, including in the processes of waste heat recovery and solar energy – electricity conversion. He prepared a theoretical basis for development and improvement of the advanced thermoelectric materials for heat recovery. As part of a research team, Prof. Kanatzidis created the first solid-state solar cell device using a film made of a solution of perovskite with lead iodide in a solid-state dye-sensitised Grätzel cell with about 10%. efficiency. He also discovered the other perovskite materials used in some of the most efficient and stable solar cells at present.

Kaushik Rajashekara

Distinguished Professor of Engineering, University of Houston.

Kaushik Rajashekara made a unique and significant contribution to transport electrification, especially the road and air transport. He is engaged in power plants for electric, hybrid and fuel cell vehicles; electric and hybrid electric aircraft systems; hybrid flying vehicles and electric vertical takeoff and landing (eVTOL) vehicles. He is the owner of 36 US patents and 15 foreign patents, and the author of 10 defensive publications and a significant number of unpublished works related to proprietary information.

He has published more than 250 articles in international journals and conference proceedings, co-authored one book with IEEE Press, and has written six monographs and individual chapters for eight books. He was elected a member of the US National Academy of Engineering in 2012, the Indian National Academy of Engineering in 2013 and the China National Academy of Engineering in 2021 for his contribution to development of the power conversion systems in transportation. He is a laureate of the IEEE Medal for Environmental and Safety Technologies (2021), the Richard Kaufman Award (2013) and several other prestigious awards.


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