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UNESCO honors Vietnamese scientist as 'rising talent' in clean energy research

By Hai Minh   June 24, 2022 | 03:00 am PT
Ho Thi Thanh Van, a HCMC-based scientist, has been honored as an "international rising talent" by the L'Oréal-UNESCO for Women in Science Awards.

Van, 42, is currently a lecturer at the Ho Chi Minh City University of Natural Resources and Environment. She received the award on Wednesday in Paris for her research in hydrogen fuel cell technology, which is considered an important area of focus for the future of clean energy.

Around the world, there are 15 scientists honored as "International Rising Talents 2022". In the Asia-Pacific region, two other scientists from South Korea and Thailand earned titles.

Ho Thi Thanh Van receives the  International Rising Talents 2022 award at the LOréal-UNESCO for Women in Science Awards in Paris on June 22, 2022. Photo by the organizer.

Ho Thi Thanh Van (R) receives the "International Rising Talents 2022" award at the L'Oréal-UNESCO for Women in Science Awards in Paris on June 22, 2022. Photo by the organizer

Each year, the International Rising Talents Program selects the 15 most promising women scientists among the 275 national and regional fellows of the L’Oréal-UNESCO for Women in Science Awards.

Van's research optimizes the operation of fuel cells to improve performance and enable the production of sustainable hydrogen energy, avoiding the burning of fossil fuels and reducing carbon emissions.

The project replaces platinum with other materials in producing fuel cells, contributing to reducing the production cost by 20 percent to VND240 million ($10,328) and at the same time, making it more long-lasting.

Thanks to this research, Van had been awarded the L'Oréal-UNESCO for Women in Science National Fellowship in 2019.

Van said the success in this research will contribute to opening a path for switching to the circular economy, in which renewable, green and sustainable energy will be implemented in a continuous cycle as it aims to turn waste of one industry into resources for another.

"This approach will shape the effective energy technology and engineering solutions for the 21st century," she said.

Ho Thi Thanh Van works at her laboratory at the Ho Chi Minh City University of Natural Resources and Environment. Photo courtesy of Van

Ho Thi Thanh Van works in her laboratory at the Ho Chi Minh City University of Natural Resources and Environment. Photo courtesy of Ho Thi Thanh Van

This marks the third time that Vietnam has had scientists honored with the "International Rising Talents" award, valued at 15,000 euros ($15,840).

Shamila Nair-Bedouelle, assistant director-general for Natural Sciences of UNESCO, said: "Many of the rising female talents being celebrated this year are excelling in fields that will be vital to decarbonizing our future, such as energy storage systems, hydrogen fuel systems and quantum optics, a field of study paving the way for more energy-efficient computers."

"Yet many of their peers working in similarly strategic fields are not getting the recognition that they deserve. UNESCO, as the United Nations agency in charge of science, which has made gender equality a priority, is determined to act to put an end to these inequalities," she said.

 
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