Berkeley Lab's Ashok Gadgil Wins Zayed Future Energy Prize's Lifetime Achievement Award

Portrait of Ashok Gadgil, Director of the EETD
January 2012

Ashok Gadgil, the Director of the Environmental Energy Technologies Division of the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab), has won the Lifetime Achievement award of the Zayed Future Energy Prize. The award was announced in Abu Dhabi at the Zayed award ceremony today.

The $3.5 million Zayed Future Energy Prize, managed by Masdar in Abu Dhabi, recognizes and rewards innovation, leadership, and long-term vision in renewable energy and sustainability. The award is named in honor of Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, the late ruler of Abu Dhabi and the founding father of the United Arab Emirates, who made environmental protection a part of his legacy. The 2012 Zayed Future Energy Prize was presented to three winners and two runners up at the awards ceremony held in Emirates Palace.

The Zayed Prize organization said that “All three finalists excelled in demonstrating clear impact through their work in disseminating solutions to further knowledge, creating awareness, as well as developing policies and technologies in renewable energy and sustainability.”

Other award winners included the UK's Carbon Disclosure Project in the Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) & Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) category. India's Orb Energy and Environmental Defense Fund of the United States were first and second runners-up respectively in the same category. French company Schneider Electric received a Recognition Award in the Large Corporations category. Gadgil’s share of the award was $500,000.

Ashok Gadgil released the following statement on winning the Zayed Future Energy Prize’s Lifetime Achievement award:

“Being selected the winner for the Zayed prize is a great honor and tremendous validation of my lifelong passion and efforts for energy innovation and sustainability.

“Looking at the list of past prize winners and runners up—some of whose work I know well—I am impressed with the energy and ingenuity of this group, and I hope that we can work together, and inspire many others, to advance the aim of the Zayed Future Energy Prize—energy sustainability for the planet.

“Vigorous efforts and political leadership are needed to make the concept of sustainability an integral part of policy decisions. Energy sustainability is a critical and integral part of the sustainability for the planetary ecosystem and of the human economic system, and we need to work quickly to forestall irreversible damage to the Earth's ecosystem and to human well-being.

“Winning the Zayed Energy Prize deepens my commitment to energy innovation for sustainability. Together with my colleagues and co-workers, I will continue to advance the research, design, testing, and scale-up of fuel-efficient low-emission stoves for about three billion people (mostly women) that use biomass for cooking.  I will also continue to efforts to innovate, field test, demonstrate, and help scale-up the technology for arsenic remediation of drinking water for close to 100 million people in Bangladesh, West Bengal, and tens of millions of others elsewhere poisoned with arsenic in their drinking water.”

In addition to being Director of the Environmental Energy Technologies Division of Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, Gadgil is a Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering at UC Berkeley. He has substantial experience in technical, economic, and policy research on energy efficiency and its implementation—particularly in developing countries. For example, the utility-sponsored compact fluorescent lamp leasing programs that he pioneered are being successfully implemented by utilities in several east-European and developing countries. He has several patents and inventions to his credit, among them the "UV Waterworks," a technology to inexpensively disinfect drinking water in the developing countries, for which he received the Discover Award in 1996 for the most significant environmental invention of the year, as well as the Popular Science award for "Best of What is New–1996." In recent years, he has worked on ways to inexpensively remove arsenic from Bangladesh drinking water, and on fuel-efficient stoves for Darfur.

Dr. Gadgil has received several other awards and honors for his work, including the Pew Fellowship in Conservation and the Environment in 1991 for his work on accelerating energy efficiency in developing countries, the World Technology Award for Energy in 2002, the Tech Laureate Award in 2004, the Heinz Award in 2009, the European Inventor Award in 2011.