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07/29/2015 14:53:35

Caltech Awards Innovators of Carbon-Reducing Technologies

On the Caltech campus, a number of initiatives are under way to help achieve the Institute's goal of reducing its ecological footprint, including water conservation efforts and infrastructure upgrades to increase energy efficiency. Caltech's Resnick Sustainability Institute takes a broader view, encouraging and supporting science and engineering breakthroughs that can positively alter sustainability worldwide.

To that end, last year the Resnick Institute inaugurated the Resonate Awards as a way to draw attention to important work by early-career researchers and emerging leaders in green innovation—work that is often overlooked among other advances in technology. In line with the Resnick Institute's aim to advance research in sustainability science, this year's awards honored five innovators with creative solutions for reducing large sources of carbon dioxide—a greenhouse gas and contributor to climate change.

In their work, the honorees addressed several key areas in which innovations in technology can have a significant impact on reducing energy-related carbon dioxide emissions that contribute to climate change, such as improving the efficiency of energy systems and electronic devices, advancing clean-energy technologies, and pioneering methods to turn waste CO2 into a useful industrial product.

The 2015 Resonate Awards went to

  • Stanford University's Yi Cui for his work in the design of nanomaterials for energy conversion and storage.
  • Joel L. Dawson from Eta Devices for his contributions to solving power challenges in the cellular communications industry.
  • Tsutomu Ioroi from the Research Institute of Electrochemical Energy/National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology in Japan for his work in advancing materials for the next generation of fuel cells.
  • Mika Järvinen from Aalto University in Finland for inventing a CO2 sequestration process that converts a steel-manufacturing by-product into a valuable industrial resource.
  • Delia J. Milliron from the University of Texas at Austin for using nanomaterials to improve the carbon-reduction capabilities of smart windows.

The winners participated in a panel discussion on July 3rd at the Aspen Ideas Festival in Aspen, Colorado focused on how technological innovations can make an impact on global challenges.

"These talented scientists are producing innovations that make a tremendous positive impact on the environment. The goal of the Resonate Awards is to focus attention on creative people tackling these very tough problems," says Harry Atwater, Howard Hughes Professor of Applied Physics and Materials Science and director of the Joint Center for Artificial Photosynthesis at Caltech, as well as the founder of the Resonate Awards program.

In addition to honoring the rigorous scientific achievements of these individuals, the awards are also meant to celebrate the use of creativity to solve some of the world's biggest energy and environmental problems—an important part of the Resnick Institute's mission to change the balance of the world's sustainability.

"Challenges in sustainability are becoming increasingly visible on many fronts—from the Vatican to new government agreements and plans in the lead up to the upcoming Paris Cop21 climate talks," said Neil Fromer, executive director of the Resnick Sustainability Institute. "These awards shine a light on a wide range of new technology solutions designed to meet these challenges."

Written by Jessica Stoller-Conrad