LED Light Innovator Shuji Nakamura Honored with Zayed Future Energy Prize Lifetime Achievement Award

Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, on January 17, presented the Lifetime Achievement Award of the 2018 Zayed Future Energy Prize to Shuji Nakamura, Professor of Materials and Electrical & Computer Engineering at the University of California and Co-Director of the Solid State Lighting & Energy Electronics Center, at an awards ceremony during Abu Dhabi Sustainability Week.

Nakamura was recognized for his pioneering research developing light-emitting diodes (LEDs), which paved the way for a number of technological breakthroughs including energy-efficient lightbulbs.

Today’s awards ceremony took place before an audience of international dignitaries and thousands of ADSW attendees representing more than 170 countries.

The US Department of Energy calculates that LEDs will have achieved energy efficiency savings of more than $30 billion in the US alone by 2027. LED lighting is responsible for displacing an estimated 880,000 tons of carbon dioxide (the equivalent of nearly 2 million barrels of oil), while extending access to modern lighting to around 10 million people, of whom 9 million live below the poverty line in Africa.

Previous recipients of the Zayed Future Energy Prize Lifetime Achievement Award include Dipal Barua, Amory B Lovins, Dr. Ashok Gadgil, Professor Jose Goldemberg, Wang Chuan Fu, Al Gore, Dr. Gro Harlem Brundtland, and Li Junfeng.

Nakamura said: “To be recognized alongside such global personalities is a tremendous honor. Initiatives such as the Zayed Future Energy Prize raise public awareness of scientific research and innovation and play an essential role in helping to take bold ideas from the laboratory into the field.”

“I would like to pay tribute to the many communities, innovators and inspiring individuals who have promoted the adoption of more energy efficient technologies, turning cutting-edge science into affordable everyday commodities,” Nakamura added.

Nakamura received the Nobel Prize in 2014 for his discovery with fellow researchers from Nagoya University of blue LEDs. Nakamura’s work on blue lasers and LEDs led to the commercialization of Blu-ray discs, as well as other applications now taken for granted in TVs, mobile phones and movie projectors. He holds no fewer than 500 patents today.

Dr Nawal Al-Hosany, Director of the Zayed Future Energy Prize, said: “Shuji Nakamura has dedicated his life to research that has helped to transform the lives of millions of people, a great many of whom live in the world’s poorest communities. The Zayed Future Energy Prize was established to recognize the outstanding achievements of such individuals, who have worked tirelessly to promote sustainability and clean technologies. Nakamura encapsulates the prize’s values perfectly.”

The Zayed Future Energy Prize, the world’s preeminent sustainability and renewable energy award, recognizes outstanding businesses, non-profit organizations, schools and individuals. This year, the 10th edition of the prize’s awards ceremony, also marks the Year of Zayed, commemorating the centenary of the birth of the United Arab Emirates’ founder, Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan.

“Nakamura is a worthy recipient of the Lifetime Achievement Award as we celebrate 10 years of the prize and the centenary of the birth of our nation’s founding father,” Dr Al-Hosany added.

Established by the UAE leadership in 2008, the US$4 million Zayed Future Energy Prize has positively impacted the lives of an estimated 307 million people through the projects and activities of its winners. The prize received a record 2,296 entries in its latest awards cycle. The awards ceremony of the Zayed Future Energy Prize was attended by past winners, beneficiaries and the 2018 finalists.

In 2014, the Nobel Prize for Physics “for the invention of efficient blue light-emitting diodes,” was awarded to Nakamura, a Japanese-born American electronic engineer and inventor, who specializes in the field of semiconductor technology. Together with Isamu Akasaki and Hiroshi Amano, he received the 2014 enabled bright and energy-saving white light sources.”  He is professor at the Materials Department of the College of Engineering, University of California at Santa Barbara. He also worked on green LEDs and is responsible for creating the white LED and blue laser diodes used in Blu-ray Discs and HD.DVDs.”1