The Catalysis and Reaction Engineering (CRE) Division of the American Institute of Chemical Engineers (AIChE) is delighted to announce that Rostam J. Madon of BASF Catalysts, LLC has been selected as the recipient of the AIChE CRE Division Practice Award for 2009. This award recognizes individuals who have made pioneering contributions to industrial practice of catalysis and chemical reaction engineering. The candidate must have made important and specific technical contributions, verifiable by means of well-documented evidential materials, to the invention, development, design or implementation of industrial products, catalysts or processes through ingenious and creative application of chemical reaction engineering and/or catalysis concepts. Awardees are selected based on their contributions to the discovery and application of innovative catalysis or reaction engineering solutions to technological problems, and/or commercialization of new products and processes. The award consists of a plaque and cash award of $1,000 to be presented at the Division Reception during the AIChE annual meeting in Nashville, Tennessee. A special session will be held in honor of the recipient at the annual meeting during which he will also present a lecture.
Ross Madon has made pioneering contributions of remarkable breadth and depth to the chemistry and engineering of catalytic processes. Early in his career, he guided the field by addressing artifacts in kinetic data using methods that are accepted today as definitive criteria for kinetic control in catalysis. In the process, he brought transition state formalisms for thermodynamically non-ideal systems, first introduced by his advisor Michel Boudart, into the realm of practical catalysis. His contributions to catalyst design for Fischer-Tropsch synthesis and catalytic cracking, two of the most hydrodynamically, kinetically, and molecularly complex reaction systems known, illustrate his unique ability to contribute concepts and approaches to systems that others avoid or merely misinterpret because of their complexity. Ross Madon excels at the interface of chemistry and engineering and his achievements bridge conceptual advances with commercial catalysts and catalytic technologies. Recently, he elucidated the mechanism by which vanadium causes structural degradation of FCC catalysts and used this understanding to minimize its deleterious effect. His studies have provided a definite assessment of the role of ZSM‑5 additives in FCC to replace inaccurate or phenomenological descriptions of such phenomena. His kinetic treatments of FCC catalysis brought fundamental chemical insights into a system once considered too complex for such rigor. Ross then used the knowledge to go beyond its scholarly elegance and designed commercial FCC catalysts based on such principles. He is the coinventor and developer of the Reduxion – Maxol® family of FCC catalysts and of the IsoPlus® and Ultrium® families. He coinvented the Flex-Tec® resid cracking catalyst which has been widely and successfully deployed in demanding resid cat cracking processes. He has thrived in industrial settings, but his thought process and conceptual approach is firmly planted in the realm of thoughtful science. He has tackled truly difficult problems and taken them beyond where others could, with elegance and rigor balanced by relevance and impact.