Stephen R. Schmidt is the recipient of the 2023 Eugene J. Houdry Award in Applied Catalysis

I am pleased to announce that Dr. Stephen R. Schmidt of W.R. Grace is the recip­i­ent of the 2023 Eugene J. Houdry Award in Applied Catal­y­sis. This award is spon­sored by Clari­ant and is admin­is­tered by the North Amer­i­can Catal­y­sis Soci­ety. The award con­sists of a plaque and a prize of $5,000. The plaque will be pre­sent­ed dur­ing the clos­ing ban­quet cer­e­monies at the 2023 North Amer­i­can Meet­ing of the Catal­y­sis Soci­ety (NAM28 in Prov­i­dence).

The pur­pose of the Eugene J. Houdry Award is to rec­og­nize and encour­age indi­vid­ual con­tri­bu­tions in the field of catal­y­sis with empha­sis on the devel­op­ment of new and improved cat­a­lysts and process­es rep­re­sent­ing out­stand­ing advances in their use­ful appli­ca­tions.

Dr. Stephen R. Schmidt, Research Fel­low at W.R. Grace, has been with the com­pa­ny since 1985. The cen­ter­piece of Steve’s career has been acquir­ing lead­ing exper­tise in hydro­gena­tion catal­y­sis and apply­ing it to the devel­op­ment of new Raney® base met­al cat­a­lysts. These cat­a­lysts are crit­i­cal to the pro­duc­tion of large vol­ume chem­i­cals such as the diamine monomer of Nylon 6,6, toluene diamine monomer for polyurethanes, the diol monomer of elas­tane (i.e., Span­dex®) and sug­ar alco­hols. They are also robust in both fixed bed and slur­ry reac­tor appli­ca­tions. Steve has also con­tributed to the sci­ence of char­ac­ter­iz­ing the sur­faces of these unique cat­alyt­ic mate­ri­als, by devel­op­ing pro­to­cols for con­tend­ing with nascent hydro­gen asso­ci­at­ed with Raney® cat­a­lysts. He has also made ground-break­ing con­tri­bu­tions to mul­ti-metal­lic Raney® cat­a­lysts includ­ing pre­cious met­al-mod­i­fied Raney® cat­a­lysts and Fe-mod­i­fied Raney® cat­a­lysts. Steve’s career bridges across sev­er­al busi­ness units at Grace, includ­ing the devel­op­ment of high sur­face area sil­i­ca, alu­mi­na, rare earths, and sup­ports for poly­mer­iza­tion and auto­mo­tive exhaust cat­a­lysts. A hall­mark of Steve’s career is his col­lab­o­ra­tive approach that has facil­i­tat­ed the devel­op­ment of new tech­nol­o­gy for both the cat­a­lyst man­u­fac­tur­er and the pur­chas­er of his company’s cat­a­lyst prod­ucts.
Jing­guang Chen
Pres­i­dent, NACS