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