European Becquerel Prize for Outstanding Merits in Photovoltaics
The European Becquerel Prize for Outstanding Merits in Photovoltaics is being awarded on the occasion of the EU PVSEC Conference. This prize was established by the European Commission in 1989 to mark the 150th anniversary of Alexandre-Edmond Becquerel’s discovery of the photovoltaic effect in 1839, which laid the foundation of both, photovoltaics and photography.
Call for nomination of candidates 2023
Prof. Christophe Ballif
All members of the photovoltaics community are invited to nominate candidates for the 2023 Becquerel Prize!
The Alexandre Edmund Becquerel Prize was established in 1989 by the European Commission on the occasion of the 150th anniversary of Becquerel’s classical experiment in which he discovered the photovoltaic effect. Its purpose is to honour scientific, technical or managerial merit in the development of photovoltaic solar energy, attained over a long period of continuous achievements, or very exceptionally, for some extraordinary invention or discovery. It is primarily a European Award but not restricted exclusively to European citizens.
The members of the Becquerel Prize Committee are pleased to invite you to take part in the nomination process for the year 2023. The Prize will be awarded during the 40th Europe Photovoltaic Solar Energy Conference and exhibition (EU PVSEC), which will bring together the global PV community in the historical and lively city of Lisbon, Portugal, from 18th to 22th of September.
The deadline for submission is Tuesday 2nd of Mai 2023 (23:59, CET). More information on the Nomination Form, as well as the list of requested documents are available at www.becquerel-prize.org.
We thank you in advance for your contribution that will guarantee a high level of qualified candidates.
On behalf of the committee
Prof. Christophe Ballif
Neuchâtel, Switzerland, March 2023
A few words by the Becquerel Prize’s Chairman, Christophe Ballif
In memory of
Prof. Adolf Goetzberger
While the official nomination process for the 2023 Becquerel Prize is now open, it is also time to reflect about the global world energy situation. The world uses currently 166’000 TWh of primary energy (counted according to the BP substitution method*), 80% of it being fossil fuels. Counting for a moderate 2% annual growth, this number will likely be around 250’000 TWh by 2050*. Assuming a transition to the most efficient technologies (electric cars, heat pumps) and keeping a minimum for creation of clean fuels (e.g. H2 or NH3), would translate into an annual world electricity production requirement over 100’000 TWh by 2050, against 28’000 TWh today still. Hence, eliminating CO2 emissions linked to electricity production means practically the following:
a) either capturing CO2 massively at the exhaust of (many more) fossil power plants (at uncompetitive prices and with no real large-scale project taking off for such CO2 capture),
b) or installing 12’000 (!) new 1 GW nuclear power plants which is strictly impossible for multiple reasons and not envisioned even by the nuclear industry which foresees in their high scenario at most a few hundred more reactors by 2050.
c) Or, and this is the only credible scenario, installing massively wind and solar, e.g. at least 15 TW wind and 40 TW solar (at strict minimum… some scenarios demand for more).
Presently, only photovoltaics with a continuous strong growth and perspectives to reach 1 TW annual module production by 2028-2030, seem to be on the path required to have a chance to limit global warming to around 2°C. PV will soon be in a position to act as the key driving force for pushing the rest of the transition (with an acceleration needed in particular for wind, storage and flexibility implementation….). Hence, for the many scientists, engineers, politicians, financers, associations, who have spent so much time inventing, manufacturing, improving, promoting or installing PV, our epoch is an absolutely remarkable one. Pioneers of solar energy were all right to fight to develop and promote this form of energy. It gives me a chance to honor here the memory of Prof. Adolf Goetzberger, the founder of Fraunhofer ISE and Becquerel awardee of 1997, who left us on February 2023 at the age of 94. I wish he could further see how PV, from an expensive and niche electricity source, will be the major primary energy supplier of the world in a few decades!
Prof. Christophe Ballif
Chairman Becquerel Prize
* in this method the kWh produced by Hydro, Wind, Nuclear are multiplied by 2.5 to take into account the lower efficiency of fossil fuel power plants. It has the advantage to represent more adequately the role of renewables and direct electricity production.