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The Global Energy Prize annually honors outstanding achievements in energy research and technology from around the world that are helping address the world’s various and pressing energy challenges.

The hydrogen energy ideologist, Thorsteinn Ingi Sigfusson, died at the age of 65

The 2007 Global Energy Prize laureate Thorsteinn Ingi Sigfusson passed away. The sad news came today from the professor’s wife, Bergthora Karen Ketilsdottir. According to her, the scientist died in his sleep early in the morning of July 15.

Icelandic professor, engineer and researcher Thorsteinn Sigfusson was known throughout the world for his work on using low-temperature geothermal resources for the production of electric and thermal energy, for the development of an efficient technology of hydrogen fuel production, and for the creation of a program of conversion his country to a hydrogen energy. This transition program was absolutely supported by the Icelandic people (public opinion polls showed up to 90% of support for the “hydrogen economy” by the residents), the authorities (the scientist received funding and technical support) and started with implementation in the transport sector. Moreover, the professor was awarded the Global Energy Prize in 2007 exactly for the project on research and development of hydrogen energy generation in Iceland.

Among other things, Thorsteinn Ingi Sigfusson was head of the Innovation Center of Iceland. The introduction of scientific inventions and technologies into production was his life's favorite work. He launched about 15 different research and development companies and acted as coordinator of technological processes in Iceland. Moreover, he was pleased to work with young scientists of Russia: he led a large project at the Tomsk Polytechnic University to create fuel cells capable of producing electricity from hydrogen (such high-power fuel cells can be used as a power source for distribution units, can be used as backup generators and used at CHP plants).

Thorsteinn Ingi Sigfusson enthusiastically participated in all projects and initiatives of the Global Energy Association. In addition to active presentational activities abroad, he repeatedly came to Russia to speak at key forums of the country, transfer his experience to our young power engineers through lectures, master classes and participation in scientific symposia. In 2018, “for his great contribution to the development of international scientific cooperation,” the scientist received a letter of acknowledgment from Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Professor Sigfusson was an incredibly motivating person. He not only loved working with people, but also tried to change their mentality. Driven by the desire to create something new, he explained his scientific search with a creative beginning and was a happy person who does what he likes. As he himself has repeatedly noted, “reducing the carbon footprint is something that my brain and my heart are constantly working on.” It was this topic that became the last scientist's speech in the framework of the Energy of Knowledge program of the Global Energy Association. Recall that in mid-June 2019, he gave a lecture on decarbonization methods at Imperial College London.

The Global Energy Association grieves over the sudden loss along with relatives, friends, and colleagues of Torstein Igni Sigfusson, and expresses to them its deepest condolences.

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