Putin to Present Global Energy Prize Today
Published: June 21, 2013 (Issue # 1764)
On June 21, Russian President Vladimir Putin will hand out the Global Energy Prize as part of the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum. This year’s award will be given to two scientists, Dr Akira Yoshino and Dr Vladimir Fortov, for their contributions to the field of energy research. The prize comes with 1.2 million dollars, as well as a medal, diploma and honorary gold badge, which will all be bestowed at the presentation ceremony today at the Lenexpo Complex on Vasilievsky Island.
Dr. Yoshino, a Fellow at the Asahi Kahei Corporation, is being recognized for his development of a lithium ion rechargeable battery that is being used to power mobile phones, laptops and electric vehicles. According to the Asahi Kahei website, this battery could soon be used as power storage to electrify homes. Dr. Yoshino is the second Japanese scientist to win this prize, which has been given out annually since its establishment in 2002.
Dr. Fortov is being honored for his pioneering research of electric and thermodynamic properties of fluids and construction materials. So far, this year has been good to Dr. Fortov, who just last month was elected president of the Russian Academy of Sciences and is the prize’s fourteenth Russian recipient.
Today’s award ceremony will be the second time Putin will have congratulated this year’s winners. In April, when the results of the selection process were announced, Putin highlighted the growing stature of the prize, stating that “since its inception, the Global Energy Prize has been one of the most prestigious international awards, rallying around shared goals [of] the creative community of talented scientists, researchers and experts in the field of energy from Russia and many other countries.”
The 25-member international selection committee of energy picked Dr. Fortov and Dr. Yoshino from a pool of 82 nominees. Only highly rated scientists, including laureates of the Kyoto, Max Planck, Wolf and Balzan, and Nobel Prizes, are eligible to make nominations, and candidates may not nominate themselves.
The prize is given for outstanding achievement in the field of energy and stresses its importance for humanity. “The degree to which a development contributes to the benefit of humanity is a key driver in deciding the recipient of the prize,” reads the prize’s website.
The Global Energy Prize comes with a cash award of $1.2 million and is on par with prizes such as the Nobel ($1.2 million), the Shaw ($1 million) and the Abel ($1 milion), but a far cry from Russian billionaire Yury Milner’s $3 million Fundamental Physics Prize, which was established earlier this year.
The $1.2 million that will be handed over on Friday comes out of the pockets of three of Russia’s largest energy companies: Gazprom, the Russian gas giant, Surgutneftegas, a major Russian oil producer, and FGC UES, the mostly Russian state-owned electric grid monopoly.
The heads of all three companies, Alexei Miller, Vladimir Bogdanov and Oleg Budargin, who are all expected to attend the ceremony, sit on the Global Energy Prize’s Board of Trustees. Rosneft CEO Igor Sechin, Russian Energy Minister Alexander Novak, Deputy Prime Minister Arkady Dvorkovich and former Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev are also on the board.
The Global Energy Prize program includes other projects, such as the Energy of Youth, a competition of youth research projects in the energy field, and the Energy of Word, an international media competition for journalists who cover energy issues.