Michael Grätzel wins Abdullah Bin Hamad Al-Attiyah award

Michael Grätzel. Credit: Alain Herzog (EPFL)

Michael Grätzel. Credit: Alain Herzog (EPFL)

Professor Michael Grätzel at EPFL’s School of Basic Sciences has been awarded the 2023 Abdullah Bin Hamad AI-Attiyah International Energy Award for Lifetime Achievement for the Advancement of Renewable Energy.

The Abdullah Bin Hamad Al-Attiyah International Foundation for Energy and Sustainable Development is a non-profit organization established to preserve and build upon the forty years of Abdullah bin Hamad Al Attiyah’s service in the energy industry. The Foundation aims “to be an internationally respected independent think tank that is a thought leader focused on global energy and sustainable development topics.”

The Abdullah bin Hamad Al-Attiyah International Energy Awards are given annually to individuals for their lifetime of achievement in advancing the global energy industry. The nominees are chosen “for an outstanding record of accomplishment in their sector over the whole of a career; men and women who have made an exceptional impact on the energy industry with distinct personal achievements for a consistent and prolonged period of engagement.”

The International Energy Awards are given in six categories:

  1. Lifetime Achievement for the Advancement of Qatar’s Energy Industry
  2. Lifetime Achievement for the Advancement of Natural Gas
  3. Lifetime Achievement for the Advancement of Education for Future Energy Leaders
  4. Lifetime Achievement for the Advancement of Renewables
  5. Lifetime Achievement for the Advancement of Energy Journalism
  6. Lifetime Achievement for the Advancement International Energy Policy and Diplomacy

This year, the Award for Lifetime Achievement for the Advancement of Renewables has been awarded to Professor Michael Grätzel at EPFL, one of the most important researchers in chemistry of our time.

About Professor Michael Grätzel

Professor Grätzel is world-renowned for inventing the first dye-sensitive solar cell in 1991 with chemist Brian O’Reagan. Just as plants use chlorophyll to turn sunlight into energy, the “Grätzel cells” use industrial dyes, pigments or quantum dots stimulated by sunlight to transmit an electrical charge. Within fifteen years of the original invention, Grätzel evolved the cells into an applied technology that is now being developed in universities and companies worldwide.

Having discovered molecular photovoltaics, Grätzel’s research has focused on designing mesoscopic photosystems based on molecular light harvesters that convert light very efficiently to electricity. He is credited with moving the photovoltaic field beyond the principle of light absorption via diodes to the molecular level. Recently his research engendered a second revolution in photovoltaics prompting the advent of perovskite solar cells. In just a single decade, their power-conversion efficiency increased from 3% to over 26%, rivaling and even exceeding the performance of conventional photovoltaics.

Grätzel also applied his innovative mesoscopic design concept to enhance the power of lithium-ion batteries and to create photoelectrochemical cells that efficiently generate chemical fuels from sunlight, opening up a new path to provide future sources of renewable energy that can be stored.

Grätzel currently directs EPFL’s Laboratory of Photonics and Interfaces within the Institute of Chemical Sciences and Engineering (ISIC). His 1,750 publications have received over 467,000 citations and have an h-index of 296. In 2019, Stanford University ranked Grätzel first of 100,000 top scientists across all fields. According to the Web of Science, he is presently the most highly cited chemist in the world.

Read more about Professor Michael Grätzel