Dr Arthur H Rosenfeld (pictured) of the USA and Dr Philipp Rutberg of Russia have been presented with the 2011 Global Energy Prize, which rewards innovation and solutions in global energy research and its concurrent environmental challenges. The Global Energy Prize is one of the world’s most respected awards in energy science, awarding 33 million roubles ($1.17m) each year for outstanding energy achievements and innovations.
The prize will be equally shared between the two Laureates. 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 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 Philipp 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 repeatedly spoken out against the construction of landfills, and on the need to invest in science and innovation, particularly where it concerns the environment.