2021 Queen Elizabeth Prize for Engineering presented
Posted on 12 Jan 2022 and read 1663 times
HRH The Prince of Wales recently presented the 2021 Queen Elizabeth Prize for Engineering during a ceremony at St James’s Palace. The 2021 QEPrize laureates — Isamu Akasaki, Shuji Nakamura, Nick Holonyak (Junior), M George Craford and Russell Dupuis — were recognised for the creation and development of LED lighting, which forms the basis of all solid-state lighting technology (Professor Akasaki passed away in April 2021 but was represented at the ceremony by his son-in-law Kazuaki Takahashi).
Solid-state lighting technology ‘can be found everywhere’, from digital displays and computer screens to handheld laser pointers, automobile headlights and traffic lights. Visible LEDs are now a global industry predicted to be worth over $108 billion by 2025 through low-cost high-efficiency lighting. Indeed, LED lighting is 75% more energy efficient than traditional incandescent and compact fluorescent bulbs, and is playing a crucial role in reducing CO2
Moreover, LED bulbs last 25-times longer than incandescent bulbs and their large-scale use reduces the energy demand required to cool buildings — hence they are often referred to as the ‘green revolution’ within lighting.
Lord Browne of Madingley, chairman of the Queen Elizabeth Prize for Engineering Foundation, said: “This year’s prize winners have not only helped humanity to achieve a greater degree of mastery over the environment but also enabled us to do so in a sustainable way. They have created a product that we now take for granted, but which will play a major role in ensuring that humanity can live in harmony with nature for many more centuries to come.”
Christopher Snowden, chairman of the 2021 QEPrize Judging Panel, added: “The impact of this innovation is not to be understated. It makes lighting a lot cheaper and more accessible for emerging economies.
“For example, LEDs are being used on fishing boats where previously the only option would have been paraffin lamps. They are much cheaper and safer. It is not only an extreme engineering achievement, but a societal one that has a significant impact on the environment.”