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Yoshihiro Hamakawa to receive 2005 Karl Böer Solar Energy Medal of Merit Award

Yoshihiro Hamakawa
p.m., Feb. 16, 2005--Yoshihiro Hamakawa, adviser professor to the chancellor at Ritsumeikan University in Shiga, Japan, will receive the 2005 Karl Böer Solar Energy Medal of Merit on Thursday, April 28, at the University of Delaware.

The medal and a cash award of $40,000, funded by the Karl W. Böer Solar Energy Medal of Merit Trust, is given to an individual who has made significant pioneering contributions to the promotion of solar energy as an alternate source of energy through research, development or economic enterprise or to an individual who has made extraordinarily valuable and enduring contributions to the field of solar energy in other ways.

The award is given in honor of Karl Wolfgang Böer, a longtime UD faculty member, founder of UD’s Institute of Energy Conversion and a distinguished scientist in the field of solar cells.

“Prof. Hamakawa has made significant pioneering contributions to the development of high-efficiency, thin-film silicon solar cells and the advancement of solar photovoltaic science and technology as a clean energy,” Robert W. Birkmire, executive director of the Karl W. Böer Solar Energy Medal of Merit Trust and director of UD’s Institute of Energy Conversion, said.

The recipient of the award is chosen by a panel of commissioners composed of scientists and presidents of several solar energy-related professional societies, a representative of the U.S. secretary of energy and a member of the Böer family.

A prominent scholar in the field of solar photovoltaic energy conversion, Hamakawa explored new materials, device physics and fabrication technologies that led to improving the efficiency of many types of solar cells. In the late 1970s he was a leader in demonstrating valance electron control using an amorphous silicon p-i-n heteroface device structure and developed a new wide bandgap material, amorphous silicon carbide, which is now used by many industries worldwide for manufacture of solar panels.

Hamakawa also was among the first to recognize the importance of tandem solar cells and was awarded a patent on multi-junction amorphous silicon p-i-n solar cells in 1979 while at Osaka University. In the early 1990s Hamakawa was one of the first to propose a new material combination consisting of an amorphous silicon top solar cell with a nano-crystalline silicon bottom solar cell which is currently the focus of many research and development and commercial efforts to improve the performance of amorphous silicon based solar cell modules.

In 1973, Hamakawa was one of the initiators of the Sunshine Project, a national consortium of public institutions, private enterprises and universities that was sponsored by the Ministry of International Trade and Industry in Japan. He is the chairman of the committee for the new Sunshine Project, solar energy division.

Hamakawa has published extensively, advised dozens of doctoral degree candidates and received international awards and honors. His pubic affiliations include past president of the Japan Solar Energy Society, president of JOPRE (Japan Organization for Promotion Renewable Energy) and a member of the Technical Council of the Agency of Industrial Science

The first Karl W. Böer Solar Energy Medal of Merit award was presented in 1993 to former U.S. President Jimmy Carter, who was cited as an individual who spurred development and focused world attention on solar energy.

Other recipients of the Böer medal include:

  • 1995--David E. Carlson, vice president of the Thin Film Division of Solarex, an AMOCO subsidiary;
  • 1997--Adolf Goetzberger, founder of the Fraunhofer Institute for Solar Energy Systems;
  • 1999--Stanford R. Ovshinsky, a pioneer in the science of amorphous semiconductors resulting in the development of low-cost, thin-film silicon solar cells;
  • 2001--Allen M. Barnett, a pioneer in high-performance, thin-crystalline silicon solar cells and currently senior scientist in UD’s Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering; and
  • 2003--Martin A. Green, Inaugural Scientia Professor at the Centre for Photovoltaic Engineering in Sydney, Australia, and foundation director for the Centre for Third Generation University of New South Wales in Sydney.

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