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19 clean energy innovators announced as inaugural cohort of Mission Innovation Champions



Vancouver, Canada – Mission Innovation (MI) unveiled the inaugural cohort of Mission Innovation Champions as part of the global MI Champions Program. The program seeks to celebrate and support innovative individuals who are accelerating the clean energy revolution.

During the MI Champions Awards Ceremony held at the Fourth Mission Innovation Ministerial (MI-4) event in Vancouver, Canada, the European Commissioner for Research, Science and Innovation, Carlos Moedas, recognized an individual from each participating MI member country and one from the European Commission (on behalf of the European Union) as an MI Champion.

The European Commissioner Carlos Moedas said: “A sustainable future is built on promising ideas and by talented people from across the globe. Today we recognise such amazing innovators and leaders of the clean energy revolution who will inspire others to follow their dreams and ideas. I warmly congratulate our Mission Innovation Champions for this well-deserved recognition of their achievements.”

“People and workers are the driving force behind every idea and innovation in the energy sector,” said Canada’s Minister of Natural Resources, the Honourable Amarjeet Sohi. “As this year’s Mission Innovation Ministerial host, Canada is proud to recognize these international researchers and innovators who are leading the way to a sustainable, clean energy future.”

The 19 Champions listed below work in a variety of energy-related fields and industries. They are individuals with a track record of progressing creative new ideas that can drive the pace and scale of the clean energy revolution — they are the people inventing the products and services of the future or discovering the science that underpins them. The MI Champions will continue to receive recognition and support through outreach and communication efforts by the MI Secretariat.

2019 Mission Innovation Champions

  • Australia: Glenn Platt, Research Director – Energy at CSIRO
  • Austria: Christian Holter, Managing Director of the company S.O.L.I.D
  • Canada: Sean Monkman, Senior Vice President of Technology Development for CarbonCure
  • China: Ping Chen, Professor and Division Head of Hydrogen Energy and Advanced Materials at DICP, Chinese Academy of Sciences
  • Denmark: Tejs Vegge, Professor and Head of Section for Atomic Scale Materials Modelling at DTU Energy, Technical University of Denmark
  • European Commission (on behalf of the European Union): Álvaro Beltrán, Founder Onyx Solar Energy
  • Finland: Pasi Vainikka, CEO of Solar Foods
  • France: Didier Bouix, Fuel cell systems Engineer at LITEN Institute of the French Atomic and Alternative Energies Commission (CEA)
  • Germany: Korbinian S. Kramer, Division Thermal Systems and Building Technologies, Fraunhofer Institute for Solar Energy Systems ISE
  • India: Santi Pada Gon Chaudhuri, Visiting Professor, Indian Institute of Engineering, Science and Technology, Shibpur
  • Italy: Lorenzo Mario Fagiano, Professor at Politecnico di Milano
  • Japan: Yutaka Tamaura, Professor at the Tokyo Institute of Technology
  • Mexico: Jorge Arturo Aburto Anell, Project leader and head of the Biomass Conversion Division at IMP
  • The Netherlands: Arno Smets, Professor in Solar Energy in the Photovoltaics Material and Devices group at Delft University of Technology
  • Norway: John Olav Tande, Chief Scientist, SINTEF
  • Republic of Korea: Myoungju Lee, Chief of the Zero Energy Architecture Center at Myongji University
  • Saudi Arabia: Hussam Khonkar, Professor, Senior Renewable Energy Researcher at King Abdul Aziz City for Science and Technology
  • Sweden: Jonas Eklind, CEO and President at Azelio AB
  • United Arab Emirates: Mohamed Shawky El Moursi, Professor in the Electrical Engineering and Computer Science Department at Khalifa University of Science and Technology

The MI Champions Program attracted wide interest from across the participating MI member countries with applicants spanning academia, business and research.  Following a rigorous competition, including peer-to-peer reviews and evaluations by a diverse panel of experts from around the globe, the top-scoring candidates from each country were selected to travel to Vancouver to be recognised by their Ministers and the clean energy community as MI Champions.

Applications were evaluated based on the audaciousness and creativity of the ideas or solutions proposed; their potential impact; as well as the vision of the candidates towards addressing the climate change challenges in the energy sector through innovation.

The MI Champions Program recognizes individuals working on key innovative clean energy research and technology developments. By supporting cross-border exchanges of ideas and talent and building a community of visionaries committed to the promise of clean energy research and development, this program activates and engages a new generation of researchers, inventors, and leaders.

For more information, please visit the MI Champions website or


About Mission Innovation:

Mission Innovation (MI) is a global initiative of 23 countries and the European Commission (on behalf of the European Union) working to reinvigorate and accelerate global clean energy innovation with the objective to make clean energy widely affordable. MI was announced at COP21 on November 30, 2015, as world leaders came together in Paris to commit to ambitious efforts to combat climate change. For more information, please visit