President of Russia Vladimir Putin awarded Thorsteinn I. Sigfússon, professor of physics at the University of Iceland, with the Global Energy International Prize in St. Petersburg on Saturday, after which Putin held a speech on energy.
Sigfússon has experimented with hydrogen for the last few years with good results, and he has been hired as the director of the recently founded Icelandic Innovation Center, which will begin operations on August 1, Morgunbladid reports.
The British scientist Geoffrey Hewitt and the Russian scientist Vladimir Nakaryakow were also given awards for their research on heat transfer.
“They were both very interested in using their technology and methods on Icelandic geothermal energy. Many find it exciting that we are going do drill deeper,” Sigfússon said.
After the award ceremony, Putin discussed the situation of energy in the world, among other things in relation with the G8 summit, which ended in Heiligendamm in Germany on Saturday.
“People stared because it was obvious that the speech had not been expected,” Sigfússon said. “I believe he was referring to the renewable energy that Iceland is harnessing more than anyone else in the world.”
The Global Energy International Prize is one of the greatest honors for energy offered by the Russian government. It was founded by Putin himself and this is the fifth time it is granted.
This year 146 scientists were nominated and an international group of 30 decided who would receive the award.