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.