The Conventional Energy Category Nominees
The shortlist for the 2020 Global Energy Prize Conventional Energy category includes scientists from China, USA, Italy, and Australia. Their works are related to a wide range of domains from the oil to the nuclear industry, and all of them are focused on the energy system efficiency improvement.
Richard J. Goldstein is famous for his research in such areas as thermal engineering, mechanics, thermodynamics of gas turbines, and laser-Doppler velocimetry. His discoveries have not only influenced science but also significantly changed the life of modern society.
R. J. Goldstein was born in 1928 in the United States and received a Master’s degree from the University of Minnesota, where he is now a Regents' Professor. His list of awards includes the Nusselt-Reynolds Prize, award from the Israel Institute of Technology, international award from the Japan Society of Mechanical Engineers, American Society of Mechanical Engineers Medal, and an award from the U.S. Senate.
The scientist was one of the first in the world to join a coherent light source of the laser with the Doppler effect. As a result, the laser-Doppler velocimetry has been developed, a new non-invasive optical system for measurement of wave velocity and temperature of fluids, particles, and gases. Due to the application of stabilised narrowband lasers with low noise intensity, it has high measurement sensitivity. This very measurement system has formed the basis of the Doppler speed and drift-angle meter, which is used in modern airplane, rocket, and ship navigation equipment for continuous indication of wind speed, drift angle, etc. Because of precise measurement of wind speed and direction, such devices make it possible to significantly increase the efficiency of wind power plants.
His reference beam research was followed by the development of several power systems, and helped him create the world's first optical interferometer permitting measurement of temperature distribution in the process of heat transfer between a fluid and a surface. His fundamental contribution resulted in new research and development in the field of heat transfer processes that until then had been unavailable for investigation by means of common methods. Later interferometers were put to good use in the manufacture of metal products and telescopes for astronomy.
In fact, Goldstein's works have revolutionised diagnostic measurement systems demanded by scientists and developers around the world. The laser-Doppler velocimetry is used in aerodynamic testing of airplanes, rockets, cars, buildings, ships, as well as in hydrodynamics, fuel systems, environmental studies, thermal engineering, and medical science.
The scientist’s research has also been focused on improving the efficiency and reliability of airplane engines and gas turbines for power generation. In particular, Goldstein has developed the famous method of gas turbine film cooling using special profiled holes allowing to increase the efficiency of gas turbine plants to a great extent. Due to this invention, a huge amount of energy – and therefore of money – has been saved.
Demin Wang from China is best known for his research in enhanced oil recovery. Using the polymer flooding technology developed by Demin Wang, China has been able to increase the production rate of the country's largest oil field by a quarter and to apply these techniques to other oil and gas fields.
The scientist was born in 1937 in China, graduated from the China University of Petroleum and became a professor at the College of Petroleum Engineering. He has received numerous prizes and awards from the China National Petroleum Corporation and the Ho Leung Ho Lee Foundation Prize for Scientific and Technology Achievement. There is even an asteroid named after him.
Demin Wang graduated from the university at the time when a large oil field was discovered in China's Daqing. Having abandoned a career in teaching, he started working on the oil well pressure problem. The “Songliao” method for reservoir pressure assessment in unstable wells developed by him in 1961 was the first national Chinese know-how in this area. This method has helped reduce the number of errors in calculations by a factor of five; it has been used for Chinese oil fields more than a million times.
In the 1960s and 1970s, the scientist proposed the “Liu Fen Si Qing” technology including eccentric water distribution in an oil well, stratified testing, hydraulic fracturing with ball diverters, and manometric data interpretation techniques applicable to heterogeneous reservoirs. Due to this method, the largest onshore field in China, Daqing, was producing more than 50 million tons of oil annually over a period of 27 years, and more than 40 million tons for another 12 years. In total, the field has produced over 2 billion tons of oil. China has certified this technology and successfully brought it to the global service market.
Demin Wang pioneered the theory that polymer viscoelasticity could improve oil displacement efficiency, and developed the world's leading chemical flooding technology to enhance oil recovery. This series of technologies applied to the Daqing field has increased the oil recovery rate by 12% to 50%. Due to this, the additional production output has reached 110 million tons.
Methods of combined foam flooding, high concentration polymer flooding, and tertiary oil recovery techniques have also been of interest to the scientist.
Carlo Rubbia from Italy is a Nobel Prize laureate in physics and the “Father” of the Large Hadron Collider, who developed its concept and made a case for its construction.
He was born in 1934 in Italy, graduated from the University of Pisa, and is now a professor at the GSSI, an Italian institute for advanced studies. He headed the European Organization for Nuclear Research and worked as a professor at Harvard. In addition to the Nobel Prize, he is a senator for life and Knight Grand Cross of Italy. Rubbia has also received such honors as the French "Officier de la Legion d'Honneur" and the Polish Order of Merit.
The scientist has presented some truly revolutionary inventions in the field of radioactive waste disposal and renewable energy sources.
He received the Nobel Prize for the discovery of the W and Z bosons. The scientist proposed building the most powerful particle accelerator in the world by converting CERN's accelerator to a synchrotron to collide protons and antiprotons. He became the originator of the accelerator particle detector. These works resulted in the production of elementary particles the existence of which had been theoretically predicted but not confirmed by experiment.
His nuclear reactor concept was called an energy multiplier. This fundamentally safe concept combined an accelerator and a subcritical nuclear reactor that used thorium, a common element, as a fuel. It is believed that, in principle, an uncontrolled chain reaction cannot occur in this accelerator. In addition, the nuclear waste generated during the operation of such a reactor remains hazardous for a much shorter period of time than the waste from conventional reactors. At the same time, the system itself allows for the possibility of nuclear waste utilisation and conversion into less hazardous substances.
Zhao Yang Dong from Australia is best known for his works in such fields as electric power engineering, smart grids and their cybersecurity. In 2019, he ranked in the top 1% of the most cited researchers in the world, according to Thomson Reuters.
The scientist was born in Australia in 1971. He is the director of the UNSW Digital Grid Futures Institute, a professor at the University of New South Wales, and a member of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers. Zhao Yang Dong has authored and edited five books and over 450 peer-reviewed journal articles.
Zhao Yang Dong is world-famous as an expert and teacher in the field of industrial informatics, energy management systems and their cybersecurity. He has created an innovative concept of probabilistic methods for power systems analysis and worked on grid load modelling – both theoretic and at the request of a number of companies. For example, he developed load models for Western Power's grids in Western Australia, led the gas and power grid planning for the CSIRO Future Grid project, and worked with the government of the country on smart grid cybersecurity.
The scientist and his team supported the implementation of the Australian “Smart Grid, Smart City” national demonstration project that has played a critical role in securing and improving the power grid of Australia.
Zhao Yang Dong's goal was to ensure that the industry and residents were consistently provided with increased electric power supply from the grid at a lower cost, which would ultimately help slow down the electricity price growth. Also, the scientist has been making use of the advantages of energy from renewable sources.
Jinliang He from China is famous throughout the world as an expert in lightning protection, grounding, and high voltage engineering and electrical appliances.
The scientist was born in 1966 in China; he is the Chair of the High Voltage Research Institute at Tsinghua University. The list of his achievements includes national awards of China, Herman Halperin Award of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, Rudolf Heinrich Gold Award, Hoshino Prize, Asia-Pacific Conference on Lightning Award, China National Outstanding Young Scientist Foundation Award, and others.
The revolutionary power transmission technologies developed by Professor Jinliang He are already widely used in power systems and industry sectors around the world. His software for lightning protection failure analysis has been widely used throughout China, and his grounding technologies have become a national standard applied in 150 000 projects.
Resistor technologies have been used in power transmission projects in 46 countries; the cable insulation materials invented by Professor will provide environmentally friendly power transmission over long distances and render high-voltage underground transmission lines construction possible.