The new year is off to a strong start for UC Santa Barbara engineer Shuji Nakamura. The materials professor, who is also the research director for UCSB’s Solid State Lighting & Energy Electronics Center, has been awarded the 2018 Zayed Future Energy Prize (ZFEP).
Nakamura is recognized in the Lifetime Achievement category, which honors “an individual with an outstanding record of achievement in the renewable energy and sustainability sectors.”
“The 2018 Zayed Future Energy Award recognizes the global impact of solid-state lighting technology on both the climate and the citizens of our planet, and I am honored that my work in this field is again being highlighted,” Nakamura said.
A winner of the 2014 Nobel Prize in Physics, Nakamura is one of three individuals credited for creating he highly sought bright-blue LED. That advance paved the way for the white LED — technology that is now at the heart of many energy-efficient applications, including interior and exterior lighting, displays and automotive headlamps. The use of LED lights has revolutionized energy savings, making it possible to reduce fossil fuel use and carbon footprints. Their durability has also enabled the provision of lighting under inhospitable conditions and in places where traditional energy infrastructure is not available.
“It is altogether fitting that Shuji Nakamura should continue to receive recognition in the form of prestigious awards, such as the Zayed Future Energy Prize, for his enormous contributions to energy-efficient solid-state lighting,” said Rod Alferness, dean of the UCSB College of Engineering. “He continues to bring tremendous energy, creativity and diligence to his work, and to provide indispensable mentorship to UCSB graduate students.”
Nakamura received his award at a ceremony held in Abu Dhabi in the United Arab Emirates, as part of Abu Dhabi Sustainability Week.
Now in its 10th year, the Zayed Future Energy Prize is the UAE’s global awards program for renewable energy and sustainability pioneers. The ZFEP came to fruition as a result of the vision of Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, the late ruler of Abu Dhabi and founding father of the United Arab Emirates. The ZFEP annually recognizes innovations and leadership in sustainability achieved by large corporations, small and medium enterprises, nonprofit organizations, dedicated individuals and high schools from five different world regions. Previous winners include former U.S. Vice President Al Gore, Toyota Motor Corp. and Bronx Design & Construction Academy.