World's 100 Most Powerful Arabs 2014
Wed 26 Mar 2014 03:56 PM
Omar Yaghi

Designation: Chemist

Country: US (Jordan)

Omar Yaghi’s work with molecular chemistry has seen the likes of BASF beating a path to his door.

From his base at the University of California, Berkeley, where he is currently a professor of chemistry, Yaghi has been building metal-organic frameworks (MOFs) that could prove crucial in helping develop green energy solutions, such as natural gas vehicles, hydrogen fuel cells and carbon capture technology.

The chemist’s structures can, for example, double the amount of gas that is stored in a tank. That could be a game-changer for gas-powered cars, allowing them to go for longer between refuelling, and making gas tanks easier to design. As America weans itself off gas-guzzling cars amid a bid for energy independence, Yaghi’s work is vital. He was listed by Reuters in 2011 as the second most important chemistry researcher on the planet.

Energy challenge

Dr Yaghi has been building metal-organic frameworks (MOFs) that could prove crucial in helping develop green energy solutions.