Fuel Choices Summit 2017 31 October - 1 November, Habima Theater, Tel-Aviv

Award

The 2016 SAMSON - PRIME MINISTER’S PRIZE FOR INNOVATION IN ALTERNATIVE FUELS FOR TRANSPORTATION
The $1 million prize is the largest monetary prize awarded in the field of alternative energy.

Award winners ceremony 2015

THE WINNERS OF THE ERIC and SHEILA SAMSON PRIME MINISTER’S PRIZE FOR INNOVATION IN ALTERNATIVE FUELS FOR TRANSPORTATION

The Eric and Sheila Samson Prize, totaling one million US dollars, is the world’s largest monetary prize awarded in the field of alternative fuels and is awarded yearly to scientists who have made critical advancements towards achieving this goal. The winners are selected from a long list of worthy candidates recommended for the prize by university presidents and CEOs in industry, from Israel and from around the world. The winners are selected by a committee of international experts who submit their recommendation to a board of trustees, headed by former Technion President, Professor Yitzhak Apeloig.


Winners of the 2016 Prize
Professor Mercouri Kanatzidis
from Northwestern University and Argonne National Laboratories, USA and Professor Gregory Stephanopoulos from Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), USA, who share the Prize equally. 

These two distinguished scientists have been awarded the prestigious Prize for their innovative scientific and technological contributions that have the potential to lead to the development of alternative fuels for transportation, replacing the fast depleting fossil fuels which are the major fuels used nowadays in transportation. This is the fourth time this prize has been awarded by the Prime Minister’s Office, the Ministry of Science, Technology and Space and Keren Hayesod.

The first recipient, Professor Mercouri Kanatzidis, is a chaired professor at Northwestern University and a Senior Scientist at Argonne National Laboratories, USA. Kanatzidis has made seminal pioneering contributions in developing pioneering concepts in the design of nanostructured thermoelectric materials that convert heat to electricity with breakthrough performance. His landmark achievement is the discovery of nanostructured thermoelectrics that broke four-decade-old efficiency records. Thermoelectrics are semiconductors that convert waste heat into electricity. By harvesting waste heat, thermoelectric materials can save energy in many thermal processes, including in automobiles, increasing significantly vehicle mileage and reducing carbon dioxide emissions. Kanatzidis research has contributed to a deeper fundamental understanding of the thermoelectric process and opened paths to further breakthroughs. Kanatzidis’ nanostructured thermoelectrics have had a revolutionary impact, and they are now the new paradigm followed by researchers worldwide. He has changed the way thermoelectric materials are designed and influenced how the scientific and technological community thinks about them. The emergence of nanostructured thermoelectrics opens a path to the commercialization of thermoelectric generators for automotive (and other applications) now under way.

The second recipient, Professor Gregory Stephanopoulos, is a chaired professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), USA and the Elected President of the American Institute of Chemical Engineers. Prof. Gregory Stephanopoulos is a pioneer in the field of metabolic engineering and made seminal contributions to the engineering of microbes for biofuels production. He authored the first report on the targeting and engineering of mitochondria as a favorable component for production of biofuels and introduced the concept of global Transcriptional Machinery Engineering (gTME) for improving multigene microbial phenotypes. Of specific relevance are his achievements on xylose isomerase overexpression along with the engineering of the pentose phosphate pathway that enables rapid xylose utilization and ethanol production by Saccharomyces Cerevisiae (a species of yeast) . He has also developed several strategies for the conversion of natural gas (methane) to liquid fuel with much higher energy density. He is awarded the Prize for his pioneering work in the field of metabolic engineering which contributed in a major way to the progress in the engineering of microbes for biofuels production.

 

2016 Winners
Prof. Gregory Stephanopoulos
Prof. Gregory Stephanopoulos
Professor of Chemical Engineering and Biotechnology, MIT, USA
Greg Stephanopoulos is the W.H. Dow Professor of Chemical Engineering and Biotechnology at MIT. He received his degrees from the National Technical University of Athens and Minnesota and taught at Caltech before joining MIT. His research focuses on metabolic engineering, the engineering of microbes for the production of fuels and chemicals. He has co-authored or –edited 5 books, more than 430 papers and 50 patents, and supervised more than 120 graduate and post-doctoral students. He has received more than 20 major awards including the Eni Prize for Renewable and non-Conventional Energy. He is a member of the National Academy of Engineering and Academy of Athens and serves presently as President of AIChE.   
Prof. Mercouri Kanatzidis
Prof. Mercouri Kanatzidis
Charles E. and Emma H. Morrison Professor of Chemistry, Northwestern University, USA
Mercouri Kanatzidis was educated in the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki in Greece to earn a bachelor’s degree in Chemistry. He received his Ph.D. degree in chemistry from the University of Iowa in 1984. He was a postdoctoral fellow at the University of Michigan and Northwestern University from 1985 to 1987. He currently is a Charles E. and Emma H. Morrison Chair Professor at Northwestern University and a Senior Scientist at Argonne National Laboratory.  Kanatzidis has been named a Presidential Young Investigator by the National Science Foundation, Alfred P. Sloan Fellow, Beckman Young Investigator, Camille and Henry Dreyfus Teaching Scholar, Guggenheim Fellow, and Alexander von Humboldt Fellow. 
Prof. Gregory Stephanopoulos
Prof. Gregory Stephanopoulos
Professor of Chemical Engineering and Biotechnology, MIT, USA
Greg Stephanopoulos is the W.H. Dow Professor of Chemical Engineering and Biotechnology at MIT. He received his degrees from the National Technical University of Athens and Minnesota and taught at Caltech before joining MIT. His research focuses on metabolic engineering, the engineering of microbes for the production of fuels and chemicals. He has co-authored or –edited 5 books, more than 430 papers and 50 patents, and supervised more than 120 graduate and post-doctoral students. He has received more than 20 major awards including the Eni Prize for Renewable and non-Conventional Energy. He is a member of the National Academy of Engineering and Academy of Athens and serves presently as President of AIChE.   
Prof. Mercouri Kanatzidis
Prof. Mercouri Kanatzidis
Charles E. and Emma H. Morrison Professor of Chemistry, Northwestern University, USA
Mercouri Kanatzidis was educated in the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki in Greece to earn a bachelor’s degree in Chemistry. He received his Ph.D. degree in chemistry from the University of Iowa in 1984. He was a postdoctoral fellow at the University of Michigan and Northwestern University from 1985 to 1987. He currently is a Charles E. and Emma H. Morrison Chair Professor at Northwestern University and a Senior Scientist at Argonne National Laboratory.  Kanatzidis has been named a Presidential Young Investigator by the National Science Foundation, Alfred P. Sloan Fellow, Beckman Young Investigator, Camille and Henry Dreyfus Teaching Scholar, Guggenheim Fellow, and Alexander von Humboldt Fellow. 
2015 Winners
Prof. John B Goodenough
Prof. John B Goodenough
Virginia H. Cockrell Centennial Chair in Engineering

John Goodenough joined The University of Texas at Austin in 1986. He is known around the world for his pioneering work that led to the invention of the rechargeable lithium-ion battery.

He identified and developed the critical materials that provided the high-energy density needed to power portable electronics, initiating the wireless revolution. Today, batteries incorporating Goodenough’s cathode materials are used worldwide for mobile phones, power tools, laptops, tablets and other wireless devices, as well as electric and hybrid vehicles.

Goodenough currently serves as the Virginia H. Cockrell Centennial Chair of Engineering in the Cockrell School of Engineering at UT Austinhe. He is the recipient of numerous national and international honors, including the Japan Prize (2001), the Enrico Fermi Award (2009), the Charles Stark Draper Prize (2014) and the National Medal of Science (2011).

 

Prof. Jay D Keasling
Prof. Jay D Keasling
University of California, Berkeley, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory

Jay D. Keasling is a Professor of Chemical engineering and Bioengineering at the University of California, Berkeley. He is also Associate Laboratory Director for Biosciences at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory and chief executive officer of the Joint BioEnergy Institute. He is considered one of the foremost authorities in synthetic biology, especially in the field of metabolic engineering.

Prof. John B Goodenough
Prof. John B Goodenough
Virginia H. Cockrell Centennial Chair in Engineering

John Goodenough joined The University of Texas at Austin in 1986. He is known around the world for his pioneering work that led to the invention of the rechargeable lithium-ion battery.

He identified and developed the critical materials that provided the high-energy density needed to power portable electronics, initiating the wireless revolution. Today, batteries incorporating Goodenough’s cathode materials are used worldwide for mobile phones, power tools, laptops, tablets and other wireless devices, as well as electric and hybrid vehicles.

Goodenough currently serves as the Virginia H. Cockrell Centennial Chair of Engineering in the Cockrell School of Engineering at UT Austinhe. He is the recipient of numerous national and international honors, including the Japan Prize (2001), the Enrico Fermi Award (2009), the Charles Stark Draper Prize (2014) and the National Medal of Science (2011).

 

Prof. Jay D Keasling
Prof. Jay D Keasling
University of California, Berkeley, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory

Jay D. Keasling is a Professor of Chemical engineering and Bioengineering at the University of California, Berkeley. He is also Associate Laboratory Director for Biosciences at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory and chief executive officer of the Joint BioEnergy Institute. He is considered one of the foremost authorities in synthetic biology, especially in the field of metabolic engineering.

2014 Winners
Prof. Michael Grätzel
Prof. Michael Grätzel
The Swiss Federal Institute of Technology, Lausanne, Switzerland
Professor Michael Grätzel, is the director of the photonics laboratory at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Lausanne. Professor Grätzel has developed a new type of solar cell named the Grätzel Cell. This cell is based on dye-sensitive particles that imitate the photosynthesis process and convert light energy into electric energy that can be used directly for electrical propulsion or to split water into hydrogen and oxygen, which can be used in fuels for transportation. These cells are attributed the highest efficiency in the utilization of solar energy and their production is much less expensive than regular solar cells.
Prof. Thomas Meyer
Prof. Thomas Meyer
The University of North Carolina, USA
Professor Thomas Meyer, of the University of South Carolina and director of the UNC Energy Frontier Research Center in Solar Fuels and Next Generation Photovoltaics. He is a leader and pioneer in the fields of artificial photosynthesis and the development of solar fuels based on the splitting of water into hydrogen and oxygen. His groundbreaking studies have led to greater understanding of the transfer of electrons through exposure to sunlight - a central process in converting solar energy into electricity. Meyer’s extensive comprehensive fundamental research has made a critical contribution to the technological development of cells for “artificial photosynthesis”.
Prof. Michael Grätzel
Prof. Michael Grätzel
The Swiss Federal Institute of Technology, Lausanne, Switzerland
Professor Michael Grätzel, is the director of the photonics laboratory at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Lausanne. Professor Grätzel has developed a new type of solar cell named the Grätzel Cell. This cell is based on dye-sensitive particles that imitate the photosynthesis process and convert light energy into electric energy that can be used directly for electrical propulsion or to split water into hydrogen and oxygen, which can be used in fuels for transportation. These cells are attributed the highest efficiency in the utilization of solar energy and their production is much less expensive than regular solar cells.
Prof. Thomas Meyer
Prof. Thomas Meyer
The University of North Carolina, USA
Professor Thomas Meyer, of the University of South Carolina and director of the UNC Energy Frontier Research Center in Solar Fuels and Next Generation Photovoltaics. He is a leader and pioneer in the fields of artificial photosynthesis and the development of solar fuels based on the splitting of water into hydrogen and oxygen. His groundbreaking studies have led to greater understanding of the transfer of electrons through exposure to sunlight - a central process in converting solar energy into electricity. Meyer’s extensive comprehensive fundamental research has made a critical contribution to the technological development of cells for “artificial photosynthesis”.
2013 Winners
Prof. George A. Olah
Prof. George A. Olah
University of Southern California, USA
American chemist George A. Olah was awarded the Nobel Prize for Chemistry in 1994. While working at Dow Chemical's laboratories, he devised a method for extending the intermediate phase of rapid hydrocarbon reactions, and found that the introduction of an extremely strong acid could preserve carbocations (ions with a positively-charged carbon atom) for as long as months. His work allowed the mass production of synthesized high-octane gasoline, and uncovered new ways for the petroleum industry to use hydrocarbons.
Prof. G.K. Surya Prakash
Prof. G.K. Surya Prakash
University of Southern California, USA
Professor G. K. Surya Prakash primary research interests are in superacid, hydrocarbon, synthetic organic & organofluorine chemistry, with particular emphasis in the areas of energy and catalysis. He is a co-inventor of the proton exchange membrane based direct oxidation methanol fuel cell and a co-proponent (with Professor Olah) of the Methanol Economy concept. Professor Prakash is a prolific author with more than 630 peer-reviewed scientific publications and holds 30 patents. He has also co-authored or edited 10 books. He has received many awards and accolades including two American Chemical Society National Awards: in 2004 for his achievements in the area of fluorine chemistry and in 2006 for his contributions to hydrocarbon chemistry.
Prof. George A. Olah
Prof. George A. Olah
University of Southern California, USA
American chemist George A. Olah was awarded the Nobel Prize for Chemistry in 1994. While working at Dow Chemical's laboratories, he devised a method for extending the intermediate phase of rapid hydrocarbon reactions, and found that the introduction of an extremely strong acid could preserve carbocations (ions with a positively-charged carbon atom) for as long as months. His work allowed the mass production of synthesized high-octane gasoline, and uncovered new ways for the petroleum industry to use hydrocarbons.
Prof. G.K. Surya Prakash
Prof. G.K. Surya Prakash
University of Southern California, USA
Professor G. K. Surya Prakash primary research interests are in superacid, hydrocarbon, synthetic organic & organofluorine chemistry, with particular emphasis in the areas of energy and catalysis. He is a co-inventor of the proton exchange membrane based direct oxidation methanol fuel cell and a co-proponent (with Professor Olah) of the Methanol Economy concept. Professor Prakash is a prolific author with more than 630 peer-reviewed scientific publications and holds 30 patents. He has also co-authored or edited 10 books. He has received many awards and accolades including two American Chemical Society National Awards: in 2004 for his achievements in the area of fluorine chemistry and in 2006 for his contributions to hydrocarbon chemistry.