(EnergyAsia, June 21 2011, Tuesday) — Arthur H. Rosenfeld of the US and Philipp Rutberg of Russia have been jointly presented with the 2011 Global Energy Prize, which rewards innovation and solutions in global energy research and its concurrent environmental challenges.
Russian President Dmitry Medvedev presented the prize at an official ceremony at the St Petersburg International Economic Forum on June 17.
The Global Energy Prize is one of the world’s most respected awards in energy science, awarding 33 million roubles (US$1.17 million) each year for outstanding energy achievements and innovations.
Dr Rosenfeld was awarded for his contribution to the development of the energy efficiency sector, while Dr Rutberg was recognised for developing plasma technology which can be used to create energy from waste materials.
Dr Rosenfeld, 84, is a UC Berkeley physicist who served on the California Energy Commission for ten years, and is most well-known for his groundbreaking work in energy efficiency.
Motivated by the 1973 oil crisis, he switched his career focus from experimental nuclear and particle physics to energy efficiency. He proposed rigorous energy efficiency standards for new homes, businesses and industrial buildings in California, and helped develop ways to meet these, together with colleagues at the Center for Building Science which he founded at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory.
His technological innovations include energy-saving compact fluorescent light bulbs and reflective roof-coatings which reduce air-conditioning costs. In 2006, the then US Secretary of Energy Samuel Bodman noted of Dr. Rosenfeld that “the legacy of his research and policy work is an entire new energy-efficiency sector of our economy, which now yields an astounding annual savings of around $100 billion and growing.”
In 2010 a new unit of energy conservation was named after him. The ‘Rosenfeld’ equals 3 billion kilowatt-hours – the amount of energy savings needed to replace the output of one 500-megawatt coal-fired power plant in a year.
Dr Rutberg is a Member of the Russian Academy of Sciences and Director of the Institute for Electrophysics and Electric Power in St Petersburg. Throughout his career he has worked to develop high power plasma technologies which can convert waste materials into synthetic fuels, with minimal harmful emissions.
Using this technology, a town of around 30,000 people could supply all its heating needs and a portion of its electricity needs using domestic waste as a power source – providing a single solution to both garbage disposal and energy supply issues.
Dr Rutberg has often spoken out against the construction of landfills while championing the need to invest in science and innovation, particularly where it concerns the environment.
Igor Lobovsky, President of the Global Energy Prize Partnership, said:
“The Global Energy Prize exists to celebrate and encourage such innovation, and draw society’s attention to the continued need for development in the energy field. Perhaps there is no other sector where the scientific, geopolitical, economic and other interests of a country are so deeply connected. Both our 2011 Laureates have developed innovations which have had tremendous positive effects on the world’s people, environment and economy, and will continue to influence generations to come.”
The Global Energy Prize has been granted to 24 scientists from around the world including the US, Great Britain, Canada, France, Germany, Iceland, Russia, and Japan.
Russia’s President participates in each year’s award ceremony held at the conclusion of a week-long celebration of the Laureates’ Week. Other world leaders who have supported the prize include the former US President George W. Bush, former British Prime Ministers Tony Blair and Gordon Brown, former French President Jacques Chirac and current Canadian Prime Minister, Steven Harper.