Solvay Awards 2017 Chemistry For The Future Prize

Sept. 29, 2017
Chemistry for the Future Solvay Prize 2017 is awarded to Professor Susumu Kitagawa for his research in molecular architecture.

Solvay awards the 2017 Chemistry for the Future Solvay Prize to Professor Susumu Kitagawa for his work in developing metal organic frameworks, a new class of materials with a range of potential future applications, including the capturing of polluting gases. Awarded every two years, the Chemistry for the Future Solvay Prize recognizes a scientist for major discoveries that lay the foundation for the chemistry of the future while serving human progress. The winner is selected by an independent jury of six renowned scientists, including Nobel Prize laureates.

Susumu Kitagawa is reportedly a pioneer and leading scientist in the field of metal organic frameworks (MOFs), a new class of nanoporous materials. MOFs look like small cages made from networks of metallic knots linked by organic molecules. The "holes" in the network are much smaller than the diameter of a single human hair and could capture gases like CO2, methane or hydrogen for usage in chemistry or energy, according to Solvay.

"I'm honored to have been awarded the Solvay Prize for the many years of research with my teams on a molecular architecture called MOFs. Their unprecedented characteristics could in the future lead to a range of promising new applications, mainly related to their absorption and separation capability,” says Professor Kitagawa, deputy director-general, distinguished professor of Kyoto University Institute for Advanced Study (KUIAS) and director of the Institute for Integrated Cell-Material Sciences at Kyoto University (iCeMS).  “These include gas storage and release, purification, drug delivery, insulating material and the management of indoor air quality."

"Professor Kitagawa's research could have great potential for future value and a more sustainable planet. Capturing and re-using gases, such as CO2 or hydrogen, in these "cages" can help develop clean technologies to tackle climate change and open up new possibilities in energy storage," says Jean-Pierre Clamadieu, CEO of Solvay. "This research emphasizes how chemistry, as a science and an industry, delivers solutions for societal and human progress."

The award ceremony will be held at the Palais des Académies in Brussels on November 22 in the presence of His Majesty King Philippe of Belgium. The Chemistry for the Future Solvay Prize, worth €300,000, was created in 2013 to celebrate the founding of Solvay 150 years earlier by Ernest Solvay and to perpetuate his commitment as a dedicated and inspired supporter of scientific research. It was first awarded to Professor Peter G. Schultz and in 2015 to Professor Ben Feringa, who went on to win the Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 2016.

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