WCPEC Awards


Prof. Vasilis Fthenakis, Founder and Director of the Center for Life Cycle Analysis at Columbia University and Senior Scientist Emeritus at Brookhaven National Laboratory, will receive the William Cherry award
 “for his pioneering research at the interface of energy and the environment that catalyzed photovoltaic technology advancement and deployment world-wide.” 

Vasilis was born in Greece, to a family of chemists.  He got his first degree in Chemistry from the National University of Athens, Greece.  He completed his MS degree in Chemical Engineering at Columbia and worked at Columbia’s Fossil Energy coal-biomass gasification pilot-plant before joining Brookhaven National Laboratory (BNL) as a research engineer on Energy Modeling and subsequently on Environmental  Health and Safety (EH&S).  While at BNL he obtained a PhD on Fluid Dynamics and Atmospheric Science from New York University. In 2006 he established a new Center for Life Cycle Analysis (CLCA).  Since then he has been sharing his time between BNL and Columbia. 

Vasilis’ pivotal work on PV –EH&S has enabled PV penetration in many global markets and for his contributions he was made Fellow of the International Energy Foundation and tasked to Head of the National Photovoltaic Environmental, Health and Safety (PV-EH&S) Center. The PV-EH&S Center assisted the US PV industry in maintaining safe and environmental facilities and its early studies created the “Gold standard” for EH&S in today’s production facilities. Fthenakis expanded the Center’s activities to Life Cycle Analysis and Recycling; he conceptualized and conducted innovative research on the life cycle of PV that opened the door to Europe and Asia for the U.S. thin film PV industry. 

He is the author of “Solar Electricity: Systems Integration and Sustainability, 2018”, editor of two books on Life Cycle Analysis, a book on  “3rd Generation Photovoltaics”, and author or co-author of about 400 scientific articles and reports. Among his more noteworthy publications is “A Solar Grand Plan” Scientific American, 2008 with Zweibel and Mason, which was translated into eleven languages. Other representative examples of his prolific work include the development of CdTe PV module recycling technologies, material resource assessments, and leading life-cycle studies that are a crucial contribution to today’s key debates about energy and climate change.  He serves in the Editorial Boards of Progress in Photovoltaics, Energy Technology, Energies and Journal of Loss Prevention.

Prof. Fthenakis will deliver his IEEE William Cherry Award acceptance talk on Tuesday June 12 at 17: 55 during the Conference “Outstanding Technical Achievements Awards Ceremony” (Monarchy Ballroom).


About the Award

This award is named in honor of William R. Cherry, a founder of the photovoltaic community. In the 1950's, he was instrumental in establishing solar cells as the ideal power source for space satellites and for recognizing, advocating, and nurturing the use of photovoltaic systems for terrestrial applications. The William R. Cherry award was instituted in l980, shortly after his death. The purpose of the award is to recognize an individual engineer or scientist who devoted a part of their professional life to the advancement of the science and technology of photovoltaic energy conversion. The nominee must have made significant contributions to the science and/or technology of PV energy conversion, with dissemination by substantial publications and presentations. Professional society activities, promotional and/or organizational efforts and achievements are not considerations in the election for the award.

Award Package

The award consists of a plaque, monetary award, recognition at the WCPEC-7 Opening Ceremony and a dedicated Cherry Award Talk during the Opening Ceremony. In addition, a reception is held in honor of the Cherry Award winner during the WCPEC-7.

Questions? Contact the Cherry Committee Awards Chair cherryaward@ieee-pvsc.org



Steve Ringel
Ohio State University

Ronald A. Sinton
Sinton Instruments

Tim Anderson
University of Massachusetts, Amherst

Sheila G. Bailey
NASA Glenn Research Center

Allen M. Barnett
University of New South Wales

Paul Basore
PV Specialist Services

John Benner
Stanford University

Henry W. Brandhorst, Jr.
Auburn University

David E. Carlson
BP Solar

Timothy Coutts
National Renewable Energy Laboratory

Keith Emery
National Renewable Energy Laboratory

Dennis J. Flood
North Coast Initiatives Ltd.

Americo F. Forestieri
MOE Consulting

Martin A. Green
University of New South Wales

Christiana Honsberg
Cherry Award Chair
Arizona State University

Lawrence L. Kazmerski
National Renewable Energy Laboratory

Richard R. King
Arizona State University

Sarah Kurtz
National Renewable Energy Laboratory

John D. Meakin
University of Delaware

Ryne Raffaelle
Rochester Institute of Technology

Eugene Ralph
PV Consulting

Angus Rockett
Cherry Committee Chair
Colorado School of Mines

Ajeet Rohatgi
Georgia Institute of Technology

BJ Stanbery
Helios Corporation

Pierre Verlinden
Trina Solar

Robert J. Walters
Naval Research Laboratory

David Wilt
Cherry Award Co-Chair
U.S. Air Force Research Laboratory

Masafumi Yamaguchi
Toyota Technological Institute

Eli Yablonovitch
UC Berkeley

Angele Reinders
University of Twente

Previous Recipients

Dr. Paul Rappaport 1980

Dr. Joseph L. Loferski 1981

Prof. Martin Wolf 1982

Dr. Henry W. Brandhors
t 1984

Mr. Eugene L. Ralph

Dr. Charles E. Backus

Dr. David E. Carlson 1988

Dr. Martin A. Green 1990

Mr. Peter A. Iles 1991

Dr. Lawrence L. Kazmerski 1993

Prof. Yoshihiro Hamakawa

Dr. Allen M. Barnett

Dr. Adolf Goetzberger

Dr. Richard J. Schwartz 1998

Dr. Christopher R. Wronski 2000

Dr. Richard M. Swanson 2002

Dr. Ajeet Rohatgi 2003

Dr. Timothy J. Coutts 2005

Dr. Antonio Luque 2006

Dr. Masafumi Yamaguchi

Dr. Stuart Wenham 2009

Dr. Richard R. King 2010

Dr. Jerry M. Olson 2011

Dr. Sarah Kurtz 2012

Dr. Keith Emery 2013

Dr. Ronald A. Sinton 2014

Dr. Christiana Honsberg 2015

Dr. Pierre Verlinden 2016

Prof. Eli Yablonovitch 2017

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