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Chemistry for the Future Solvay Prize 2017 awarded to Professor Susumu Kitagawa for his research in molecular architecture

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Brussels, September 28, 2017 --- Solvay announces that the 2017 Chemistry for the Future Solvay Prize is awarded 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 year, 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 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, 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.


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. These include gas storage and release, purification, drug delivery, insulating material and the management of indoor air quality,” said 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).

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,” said 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 22 November 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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Solvay is a multi-specialty chemical company, committed to developing chemistry that addresses key societal challenges. Solvay innovates and partners with customers in diverse global end markets. Its products and solutions are used in planes, cars, smart and medical devices, batteries, in mineral and oil extraction, among many other applications promoting sustainability. Its lightweighting materials enhance cleaner mobility, its formulations optimize the use of resources and its performance chemicals improve air and water quality. Solvay is headquartered in Brussels with around 27,000 employees in 58 countries. Net sales were € 10.9 billion in 2016, with 90% from activities where Solvay ranks among the world’s top 3 leaders. Solvay SA (SOLB.BE) is listed on Euronext Brussels and Paris (Bloomberg: SOLB.BB - Reuters: SOLB.BR) and in the United States its shares (SOLVY) are traded through a level-1 ADR program.