Wednesday , May 29 2024

Vietnam grants $3M VinFuture award to renewable battery researchers


Vietnam awarded four researchers the top VinFuture award worth US$3 million on Wednesday for their work on solar batteries and lithium-ion batteries for energy storage.

The VinFuture Grand Prize was given to Professor Martin Andrew Green from Australia, a pioneer in the field of photovoltaics who developed the Passivated Emitter and Rear Cell (PERC); Professor Stanley Whittingham, a British-American chemist considered the founding father of lithium-ion batteries; Professor Rachid Yazami, a Moroccan scientist known for his role in the development of the graphite anode (negative pole) for lithium-ion batteries and his research on fluoride ion batteries; and Professor Akira Yoshino, a Japanese chemist who created the first safe, production-viable lithium-ion battery.

After receiving the award, Green thanked scientists across the world for their endless efforts to research for solutions to help the world gradually switch from fossil fuels to more sustainable energies.

He thanked Vietnamese billionaire Pham Nhat Vuong and Vuong’s wife for founding the award.

He then thanked his wife, calling her his own renewable energy.

The VinFuture also granted three special awards worth $500,000 each to innovators in emerging fields, women innovators and innovators from developing countries.

Vietnamese professor Vo Tong Xuan and Indian American professor Gurdev Singh Khush received the award for innovators from developing countries. The two scientists were honored for their works on rice specialties of high yield and disease resistance, contributing to global food security.

Vietnamese professor Vo Tong Xuan (R), and Indian American professor Gurdev Singh Khush receive the VinFuture award. Photo by VnExpress/Giang Huy

Vietnamese professor Vo Tong Xuan (R) and Indian American professor Gurdev Singh Khush receive the VinFuture award in Hanoi, Dec. 20, 2023. Photo by VnExpress/Giang Huy

Xuan, 83, an agriculture expert and considered the founding father of many high-quality rice specialties in Vietnam, thanked the award council on behalf of his late wife, his students at Can Tho University and millions of farmers in the Mekong Delta, Vietnam’s rice basket.

He said the support for the application of new rice specialties has helped diversify production in the delta.

“That has helped enhance the rice cultivation productivity and improve the livelihoods of farmers in this area, and thus contributed to make Vietnam one of the top rice exporting countries in the world,” he said.

The award for innovators in emerging fields were given to Professor Daniel Joshua Drucker from Canada, Professor Joel Francis Habener from the U.S., Professor Jens Juul Holst from Denmark, and Associate Professor Svetlana Mojsov from the U.S., for their discovery of the role of glucagon-like peptide 1, creating the foundation for effective treatment of diabetes and obesity.

The special prize for female innovators honored Professor Susan Solomon from the U.S. for the discovery of the ozone depletion mechanism in Antarctica, contributing to the establishment of the Montreal Protocol. Prof. Solomon gathered information about the unusually large hole in the ozone layer caused by chlorofluorocarbons (CFC) in Antarctica, laying the groundwork for proposing and bringing the Montreal Protocol to fruition. This is one of the most successful international accords in tackling global environmental concerns, contributing to a global agreement to phase out ozone-depleting compounds like CFCs.

Professor Susan Solomon from the U.S. receive the VinFuture award from Vietnams Deputy Prime Minister Tran Hong Ha. Photo by VnExpress/Giang Huy

Professor Susan Solomon from the U.S. receives the VinFuture award from Vietnam’s Deputy Prime Minister Tran Hong Ha in Hanoi, Dec. 20, 2023. Photo by VnExpress/Giang Huy

The VinFuture Prize is the core activity of the VinFuture Foundation, a non-profit organization established on International Human Solidarity Day on Dec. 20, 2020, co-founded by billionaire Pham Nhat Vuong and his wife Pham Thu Huong.

Now in its fourth year, the VinFuture Prize aims to recognize transformative scientific and technological innovations capable of making significant positive changes in the lives of millions of people worldwide.

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