NAE International Member Awarded 2023 QEPrize

Tue, November 21, 2023

NAE international member Martin Green and three colleagues, Andrew Blakers, Aihua Wang and Jianhua Zhao, were presented the 2023 Queen Elizabeth Prize for Engineering (QEPrize) for the “invention and development of passivated emitter and rear cell (PERC) solar photovoltaic technology, which has underpinned recent exponential growth in high-performance, low-cost solar electricity.”

QE Prize 2023 NEW - 16 9 ratio.jpgAccording to the prize announcement, the key contribution of the 2023 laureates was their ability to  boost the energy conversion efficiency, noting that, “It was believed that 20% efficiency was the practical limit for a single-layer silicon solar cell until papers by Green, Blakers, Wang and Zhao and others theoretically determined the maximum achievable efficiency lay close to 30%, with Green suggesting a higher practical limit of 25%.”

“Martin Green and his colleagues are true champions of innovation and clean energy,” noted John L. Anderson, President of the National Academy of Engineering (NAE) and a judge on the 2023 Queen Elizabeth Prize for Engineering award panel. “Their decision to publish rather than patent their innovation enabled PERC technology to be widely adopted in the mainstream and secured its place as the most commercially viable silicon solar cell technology for use in solar panels.”

The formal presentation ceremony was held October 12, 2023 at Buckingham Palace. His Majesty King Charles III presented both the 2022 and 2023 QEPrizes. The presentation was followed by a Gala Dinner at the recently transformed Old War Office in London to celebrate the Prize’s tenth year.

QEP_MasatoSagawa.jpegSince its inaugural award in 2013, the QEPrize has been awarded to NAE members in five of the seven awards presented to date.

  • 2013 QEPrize. NAE members Vint Cerf and Robert Kahn and NAE international member Timothy Berners-Lee, along with Marc Andreessen and Louis Pouzin, were awarded the QEPrize for "the ground-breaking work that started in the 1970s, which led to the internet and the World Wide Web.”
  • 2015 QEPrize. NAE member Robert Langer was awarded the QEPrize for his revolutionary advances and leadership in engineering at the interface of chemistry and medicine. The award credits Langer with improving more than two billion lives worldwide through the disease treatments created in his lab.
  • 2019 QEPrize. NAE members Bradford Parkinson and James Spilker were awarded the QEPrize, along with Hugo FrueHauf and Richard Schwartz, for their work on GPS.
  • 2022 QEPrize. NAE international member Masato Sagawa of Japan was awarded the QEPrize for the discovery, development and global commercialization of the sintered neodymium-iron-boron (Nd-Fe-B) magnet, which can be found in everything from wind turbines, to electric cars, to phone or laptop speakers, and in research efforts on the International Space Center.

Joining Anderson on the judging panel for the 2023 QEPrize were NAE members Josephine Chang, and NAE international members Raghunath A. Mashelkar and Viola Vogel.

The Queen Elizabeth Prize for Engineering (QEPrize) champions bold, groundbreaking engineering innovation, which is of global benefit to humanity. In 2022, the program transitioned from a biennial award to an annual award with a prize amount of £500,000.

For more information on the Queen Elizabeth Prize for Engineering, or to view the announcement of the 2023 award recipients, visit qeprize.org.

Photographs by Jason Alden_QEPrize