Mission Innovation Champions : Recognizing and Supporting the next wave of Clean Energy Innovations

Mission Innovation Champions are individuals with a track record of progressing creative new ideas that can drive the pace and scale of the clean energy revolution—the people who are inventing the products and services of the future or discovering the science that underpins them. Working in government laboratories, local universities, long-standing research firms, or their own recently launched clean technology start-up companies. Champions may be from “traditional” inventor disciplines such as sciences, engineering, mathematics, and architecture or from other fields.

MI Champions programme is relevant to the scientific community working on clean energy innovation (public/private), and particularly in the ICs.

Mission Innovation Champions : 2020

The Mission Innovation Champions Program is aiming to recognize individuals who have made outstanding contributions to advance clean energy technologies. By encouraging cross-border collaboration, the Mission Innovation Champions programme activates and engages a new generation of researchers, inventors and leaders.

A total of twenty-one professionals (2020 Second Cohort), were selected  having a track record of progressing creative new ideas that can drive the pace and scale of the clean energy revolution.  The Champions were selected through a peer to peer review and evaluations by a diverse panel of experts from around the globe. Applications were evaluated based on the audaciousness and creativity of the ideas or solutions proposed, their potential impact and the vision of the candidates towards addressing climate change challenges in the energy sector through innovation.

The 2020 (second cohort) of Champions were announced during a virtual ceremony hosted by the European Commission on June 12, 2020. India has been actively engaged in Scaling up the potential of Clean energy Innovations via MI Champions programme.

Dr Purnima Jalihal
Mission Innovation India Champion 2020
International MI Champion 2020

Mission Innovation India Champions : 2019

Our Mission Innovation International Champion and Four Mission Innovation India Champions are individuals with a track record of progressing creative new ideas that can drive the pace and scale of the clean energy revolution. They work in a variety of fields and industries but all are people who are inventing the products and services of the future or discovering the science that underpins them. The Mission Innovation Champions were introduced and celebrated at the fourth Mission Innovation ministerial meeting in Vancouver, Canada in May 2019.

Prof. Santi Pada GonChaudhuri
International MI Champion
Visiting Professor, Indian Institute of Engineering, Science and Technology, Shibpur, India

FOCUS AREA: Off-Grid Access to Electricity

Dr. Santipada GonChaudhuri is a visiting professor at the Indian Institute of Engineering Science and Technology and is a Strategic Advisor at Vikram Solar. He has 35 years of experience in the field of renewable energy and has worked for more than 25 years as the Head of the Renewable Energy Department for the Government of Tripura and in West Bengal. He also set up India’s first megawatt scale grid connected solar power plant. The first floating Solar Power Plant of India is also the brainchild of Dr. GonChaudhuri. He is also the chairman of International Solar Innovation Council at Helsinki, Finland. Dr. GonChaudhuri is the inventor of Micro Solar Dome, an off-grid lighting device, which is now benefiting millions of people in rural India.

“I believe in the potential of renewable energy in heating, cooling, drinking water, and rural transport. As a Mission Innovation Champion, I will lead innovators and initiate a nationwide programme.”

Mr Prateek Bumb
National MI Champion
Founder CTO: Carbon Clean Solutions

Area of Focus: IC#3 Carbon Capture and Utilisation

CO2 Capture – Developed new breakthrough technology to capture CO2 from industrial gases. The innovative technology reduces the cost of CO2 capture by 50% and making re-use of CO2 economics across a far wide range of applications. 

CO2 Re-use – Developing new transformational technology to covert captured CO2 to re-use products 

Looking to the Future

This innovative CO2 capture and utilization technology can decarbonize industries and solve the CO2 emissions problem. My vision is widespread, commercial and technical integration and adoption of carbon capture will become a reality in the near future, leading to decarbonisation and greater energy security. Mission Innovation platform will help in unlocking the technology and research at scale. It will provide support for cross border technology exchange for effective clean energy research and deployment globally. The Mission Innovation will help necessary research integration so that process stands to be economically viable in order for industries to take ownership of the technology and will provide a mechanism so that a whole system approach is considered and that supply chain networks are factored in and potentially help in engaging the public in a positive sense for carbon capture.

Mr. Manik M Jolly
National MI Champion
Founder and CEO of Grassroots and Rural Innovative Development (G.R.I.D.)

Area of Focus: IC#2 Off-Grid Access to Electricity

His projects include AC & DC micro-grids for domestic and commercial energy access in rural areas, and most recently an off-grid solar micro-grid based Reverse Osmosis (RO) – UV filtration system that can provide clean drinking water to rural/semi urban communities at an affordable price of 0.04 USD for 10 litres.

Looking to the Future

This initiative will be used for commissioning more solar based energy and water access projects which will serve as a main source of revenue which will lead to change in the entire scenario of social development investments. There will be more focus on research and development of the smart solar products for rural and defence market in India. More emphasis on widening the clean energy spectrum to bring a transformational change in the area of energy innovation and technology.

Prof Sukumar Mishra
National MI Champion
Professor, Department of Electrical Engineering, Indian Institute of Technology Delhi

Area of Focus: IC#1 Smart Grids

Prof. Mishra completed my Ph.D. in electrical engineering in 2000 and started his career as a researcher in this field. Currently, he is working as a Professor in the Department of Electrical Engineering at Indian Institute of Technology, New Delhi and have been part of the organization for the past 15 years. His research interests lie in the field of power systems and power quality analysis in the presence of increased renewable energy penetration, smart grids and off grids power systems, electric vehicles and clean energy utilization.

Looking to the Future

The plan is to develop end to end solutions for 220 V DC smart homes which can utilize electricity in an efficient and intelligent manner. Future work will involve standardization of 220 V DC micro grids as a solution to extract renewable power. The work will also standardize AC-DC devices which are capable of operating with both 220 V AC (conventional power supply) and 220 V DC (proposed). Thus, the end user need not to purchase separate devices for utilizing energy from grid or for utilizing energy from renewable energy sources. The initiative will expedite use of renewables for household applications. With increased renewable penetration, the control and monitoring services will generate huge data which can give significant insight to issues and challenges. Thus emphasis is on data driven research and big data analysis to maximize the renewable penetration in smart grids.

Lt. Col (Retd.) Monish Ahuja
National MI Champion
PRESPL: Managing Director / Executive Director / Business Development Director

Area of Focus: IC#4 Sustainable Biofuels

Ex-Defence professional with top-notch management profile with 19 years comprehensive experience in developing, and implementing strategic projects, marketing & business development plans, new business development, operations & maintenance for leading companies in INDIA. Mr. Monish Ahuja, Director is known in the Biomass fraternity as a dedicated and knowledgeable leader. He has been advocating the cause of establishing the increased usage of biomass applications for generation of Bio-Energy by encouraging Biomass Project Developers to engage them in such initiatives with attractive economic and commercial considerations. He is an eminent speaker at various seminars and forums conducted by agencies like MNRE (Ministry of New and Renewable Energy, Govt. of India), CII (Confederation of Indian Industries), PHD Chamber of Commerce, Biomass Associations, World Biomass forums. He has been nominated as a Member of CII to represent National Committee of Bio-Energy 2014-15. He has been recognized in the year 2013 as “Biomass Energy Man of the Year” by RENEWABLE WORLD, part of Fortune Media Group. He has been also nominated as a member of the committee International Rice Research Institute (IRRI), Philippines to work out the strategies and action plants for effectively & productively utilization of Rice Straw globally which otherwise is causing damage to human health & heritage structures due to open field burning.

Looking to the Future

  • Spread more awareness in all sectors about the benefits of Bioenergy
  • Triple the Biomass utilisation for Clean Energy in next five years.
  • Enhance export of Biomass in next three years.
  • Double the number of Village Level Entrepreneurs involved in the Biomass Supply Chain by year 2020.
  • Create a Biomass Exchange and State-of-the-Art Storage Facilities for Biomass stocking etc, in consonance with
  • Government initiatives in the storage field of Biomass.
  • Achieve a quantum leap in employment avenues in the rural sector through Biomass Supply Chain and Bio Energy
  • Projects in the next five years.
  • Financial support through larger Working Capital to cater to large-scale Biomass Supply Chain and Bio Energy Projects
  • Encouraging more entrepreneurs, through policy measures, in the Biomass Sector; both in Supply Chain and Bio
  • Energy, to enable more benefits for the farmers and the Nation in the long run.

Meet the Champions

Eighteen Mission Innovation Champions—one from each participating country and one from the European Commission (on behalf of the European Union) –are individuals with a track record of progressing creative new ideas that can drive the pace and scale of the clean energy revolution. They work in a variety of fields and industries, but all are people who are inventing the products and services of the future or discovering the science that underpins them. The Mission Innovation Champions were introduced and celebrated at the fourth Mission Innovation ministerial meeting in Vancouver, Canada in May 2019.

For More Information Please visit at https://www.michampions.net/#results

Glenn Platt
Research Director, Energy, CSIRO

FOCUS AREA: Renewable Energy Integration and Affordable Heating and Cooling of Buildings

Dr. Glenn Platt currently leads the Grids and Energy Efficiency research program at CSIRO (Australia’s national science agency and research organization). His research looks specifically at energy efficiency, renewable energy integration and smart grid control technologies, and zero/low emission residential and commercial buildings. He previously held the position of research engineer at Nokia in Denmark. He holds a Bachelor of Science (Hons) in electrical engineering, a PhD in electrical engineering, and a Master of Business Administration from the University of Newcastle.

“The Mission Innovation Champions program offers a unique opportunity to share broadly the amazing opportunities clean technology offers across a diverse audience.”

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Christian Holter
Founder & Managing Director, S.O.L.I.D

FOCUS AREA: Converting Sunlight and Affordable Heating and Cooling of Buildings

Dr. Christian Holter is Founder and Managing Director at S.O.L.I.D. (Society for Solar Installation and Design). He is also the Co-Founder of two companies focused on solar cooling and solar district heating systems. He is responsible for the development and implementation of many different solar projects. Christian Holter also gives speeches and trainings and works as a consultant for international organizations, multilateral banks, and well known universities all over the world.

“Our projects include key technologies for an overall decarbonisation of the heating and cooling sector and the recognition of being a Mission Innovation Champion will help put focus and attention on this essential work.”

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Sean Monkman
Senior Vice President of Technology Development, CarbonCure

FOCUS: CO2 Utilization to Create Value-Added Products and Processes

Sean Monkman is the Senior Vice President of Technology Development for CarbonCure Technologies. He oversees the company’s research and intellectual property efforts as they develop scalable carbon utilization technologies to create more sustainable concrete. Sean holds a PhD in Civil Engineering from McGill University, has authored more than three dozen papers and presentations on beneficial carbon dioxide utilization in concrete production and is a co-inventor on over 40 issued and pending patents.

“Recognition as a Mission Innovation Champion is strong validation of not only our environmental achievements, but also of the enormous potential ahead.”

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Ping Chen
Professor and Division Head, Hydrogen Energy and Advanced Materials at DICP, Chinese Academy of Sciences

FOCUS AREA: Renewable and Clean Hydrogen

Ping Chen is a professor and division head of Hydrogen Energy and Advanced Materials, Dalian Institute of Chemical Physics (DICP) at the Chinese Academy of Sciences. Chen received a PhD degree in Chemistry from Xiamen University in 1997. Her primary research interests include hydrogen storage and heterogeneous catalysis. She pioneered the research in the amide-hydride material for hydrogen storage and the alkali hydride-transition metal composite catalyst for NH3 synthesis. She has more than 160 peer-reviewed journal articles and has delivered over 70 keynote speeches.

“Mission Innovation Champions is a symbol showing the appreciation from our society to the endeavor of researchers in advancing clean energy technology.”

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Tejs Vegge
Professor and Head of Section, Atomic Scale Materials Modelling, DTU Energy, Technical University of Denmark

FOCUS AREA: Clean Energy Materials

Tejs Vegge is Head of Section for Atomic Scale Materials Modelling at DTU Energy. His main research area is development and application of methods for accelerated computational and experimental design and discovery of novel materials for energy storage and conversion, e.g. next generation battery materials and electrocatalysts for sustainable production of fuels and chemicals.

“Mission Innovation has established a unique framework for collaboration between academia, industry, funding organisations, and decision makers around the world.”

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Álvaro Beltrán
European Commission (on behalf of the EU)
Founder of Onyx Solar

FOCUS AREA: Clean Energy Materials

Álvaro Beltrán is the Founder and President of Onyx Solar Energy, founded in Ávila, Spain in 2009. Onyx Solar Energy manufactures building-integrated photovoltaics and has over 200 projects on five continents. The company has taken part in large-scale projects for leading companies and institutions such as the U.S. Department of State, Apple, Samsung, Coca-Cola, Pfizer, and Novartis.

“My goal is that every company or individual is able to generate clean and free energy from the sun. As a Mission Innovation Champion, I am one step closer to achieving this goal.”

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Pasi Vainikka
Co-Founder & CEO, Solar Foods

FOCUS AREA: Carbon Capture and CO2 Utilisation

Pasi Vainikka is the Co-Founder and CEO of Solar Foods. Before becoming CEO, he led a strategic initiative called Neo-Carbon Energy, the largest renewable energy research program in Finland. Spin-off projects from that initiative include Soletair, a pilot plant producing fuel from air, Neo-Carbon-Food, a concept for producing healthy protein from air (now commercialised by Solar Foods), as well as the world’s first simulation of global 100% renewable electricity through a system named the “Internet of Energy”.

“I will continue a science-based discussion about the amazing opportunities technology and the future hold. The Champions programme provides a new international platform to share this vision.”

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Didier Bouix
Fuel Cell Systems Engineer, LITEN Institute, French Atomic and Alternative Energies Commission

FOCUS AREA: Carbon Capture and CO2 Utilisation

Didier Bouix is an engineer at the Innovation Laboratory for new energy technologies and nanomaterials (LiTen) of the French Alternative Energies and Atomic Energy Commission (CEA). He previously worked on the design of the Energy Observer, the world’s first hydrogen vessel with zero greenhouse gas emissions. The vessel is powered by electric propulsion thanks to a mix of renewable energies and a hydrogen production system that produces carbon-free hydrogen on board using seawater. The vessel is being used as a floating laboratory to test a variety of clean energy technologies and also serves as a media platform raising awareness about the transition to a low-carbon economy.

“The recognition of being a Mission Innovation Champion allows me to initiate new projects and collaborations with other engineers interested in new technologies in renewable energy.”

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Korbinian S. Kramer
Division Thermal Systems and Building Technologies, Fraunhofer Institute for Solar Energy Systems

FOCUS AREA: Affordable Heating and Cooling of Buildings

Dr. Korbinian Kramer is Head of the TestLab Solar Thermal Systems at Fraunhofer ISE in Freiburg. He studied Mechanical Engineering with specialties in Environment and Process Technology in Augsburg. Korbinian leads a working group on testing, quality assurance, and technical characterization of heating and cooling technologies at Fraunhofer ISE and is a lecturer at the University of Freiburg. His research interests include renewable energy management, systems, and process engineering.

“Our projects include key technologies for an overall decarbonisation of the heating and cooling sector and the recognition of being a Mission Innovation Champion will help put focus and attention on this essential work.”

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Lorenzo Fagiano
Associate Professor of Automation and Control Engineering, Department of Electronics, Information and Bioengineering, Politecnico di Milano

FOCUS AREA: Airborne Wind Energy and Grid Automation

Lorenzo Fagiano is an Associate Professor at Politecnico di Milano. He holds a Ph.D. in Information and System Engineering and his research interests are concerned with the modeling, optimization and control of complex industrial systems with applications to wind energy generation, vehicles, and power grids.

“I will use the recognition as a Mission Innovation Champion to support technical/engineering research and promotion of the clean energy field for political support at regional, national, and international levels.”

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Yutaka Tamaura
Professor, Tokyo Institute of Technology

FOCUS AREA: Converting Sunlight

Dr. Yutaka Tamaura is a Professor at the Tokyo Institute of Technology. His research interests include solar thermochemical energy conversion, solar concentration systems, solar hybrid fuel production using concentrated solar energy, and solar hydrogen production.

“As a Mission Innovation Champion, I will work to bring people together from differeent sectors and promote collaboration across renewable energy projects.”

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 Jorge Arturo
Aburto Anell Project Leader and Head of the Biomass Conversion Division, IMP

FOCUS AREA: Sustainable Biofuels

Dr. Jorge Aburto is a National Researcher and has been a research chemist at the Mexican Petroleum Institute (IMP) since 2000. He is currently project leader and head of the Biomass Conversion Division. Aburto’s main research areas are bio-based chemicals for applications in the petroleum industry, biomass deconstruction and conversion, petroleum biorefining and sustainable biofuels.

“My vision is to aid universities, research centers, companies, government, and society to undertake the energy transition, aligned with Mission Innovation goals.”

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Arno Smets
Professor, Solar Energy in the Photovoltaics Material and Devices Group, Delft University of Technology

FOCUS AREA: Converting Sunlight

Dr. Arno Smets is a Professor in Solar Energy in the Photovoltaics Material and Devices group at Delft University of Technology. He previously worked at the Research Center for Photovoltaics at the National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology in Japan. His research is focused on processing of thin silicon films, innovative materials and new concepts for photovoltaic applications.

“I believe that we can make big steps in connecting the world and inspiring talents using online education. Mission Innovation will be a valuable inspiration to people around the world to make a sustainable change.”

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John Olav Tande
Chief Scientist, SINTEF

FOCUS AREA: Offshore Wind Energy

John Olav Tande is Chief Scientist at SINTEF, an independent non-profit research institute. From 2009 – 2017, he was the Director at the Norwegian Research Centre for Offshore Wind Technology (NOWITECH), a research cooperation between academia and industry co-funded by the Research Council of Norway.

“My mission is to bring forward research that contributes to an affordable, reliable, and sustainable supply of energy for all. As a Mission Innovation Champion, I will speak for research as an efficient vehicle for innovation.”

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Myoungju Lee
Republic of Korea
Chief, Zero Energy Architecture Center, Myongji University

FOCUS AREA: Passive Houses, Zero Energy Buildings and Cities

Myoungju Lee is a Professor at the College of Architecture at Myongji University. She is also the Director of the Zero Energy Architecture Center at Myongji University. Her work has focused on high efficiency building design and she has successfully launched the Zero Energy Housing Complex in South Korea.

“As a Mission Innovation Champion, I will introduce the importance of developing individual technologies globally and become an architect who works with experts in various fields from all over the world to build a zero energy.”

Hussam Khonkar
Saudi Arabia
Professor, Senior Renewable Energy Researcher, King Abdul Aziz City for Science and Technology

FOCUS AREA: Converting Sunlight

Dr. Hussam Khonkar is a professor and research member at the Energy Research Institute of the King Abdulaziz City for Science and Technology. His focus is solar R&D, including PV solar water distillation, and solar for cooling. He has worked in renewable energy for more than 38 years. He received his PhD in Mechanical Engineering (Solar Thermal) from Reading University, U.K., and B.Sc. in Engineering of Renewable Energy from Colorado Tech. University, USA. He worked as a researcher for four years to develop UHCPV for KACST at the IBM Thomas J. Watson Research Center in New York. In 1989, Dr. Khonkar worked as an Assistant Project Manager for Saudi German HYSOLAR, producing hydrogen by solar. In addition, he has been an Adjacent Faculty Member at the Florida Institute of Technology (FIT), USA, since 2007 and King Saud University. He is a member of Scientific Committee in Research Grants Program for Saudi Universities.

“Recycling solar panels is a significant ways to make the world greener. Mission Innovation will help me improve this process and leave the world healthier and better for the next generation.”

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Jonas Eklind
CEO and President, Azelio AB

<3>FOCUS AREA: Off-Grid Access to Electricity

Jonas Eklind is CEO and President at Azelio AB, a supplier of sustainable energy solutions based on the Stirling engine integrated with an innovative thermal storage system. The company focuses on offering low-cost on-demand distributed and dispatchable clean electricity.

“Being named a Mission Innovation Champion will strengthen my position as a transition leader and I will use the recognition to inspire others to change the world. “

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Mohamed Shawky
United Arab Emirates
Professor, Electrical Engineering and Computer Science Department, Khalifa University of Science and Technology

FOCUS AREA: Smart Grids and Off-Grid Access to Electricity

Mohamed Shawky is currently a Professor in the Electrical Engineering and Computer Science Department at Khalifa University, specialized in renewable energy systems (Wind and Photovoltaic) and Smart Grid. He is the Theme Lead for Renewable Energy Integration in the Advanced Power and Energy Center (APEC) at Khalifa University. He is an editor for several top-tier IEEE Transactions, a regional editor of IET RPG, and the chair for the IEEE PES UAE Chapter. His research interests include power system, power electronics, renewable energy (Wind and PV) integration, HVDC Systems, microgrid operation and control.

“This prestigious recognition will bring value to my research and innovations on renewable energy systems and the smart grid. As a Champion, I will partner with others to test and implement my projects.”

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Mission Innovation Champions 2020

Mission Innovation Global Champion: India 2020

For More Information about MI Champions Programme please visit: https://www.michampions.net/#about