University of Pittsburgh
June 24, 2002

Pitt Chemical Engineer Honored with EPA's Green Chemistry Challenge Award Fifth Time in Four Years EPA Honors Pittsburgh Researcher or Corporation

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June 25, 2002

PITTSBURGH—A University of Pittsburgh researcher joins a growing list of "green" pioneers in environmental chemistry who could change Pittsburgh's image from "Steel City" to "Green City."

Eric J. Beckman, Bayer Professor of Chemical Engineering and chair of Pitt's Department of Chemical and Petroleum Engineering, received the Green Chemistry Challenge Award from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in a ceremony yesterday at the National Science Foundation in Washington, D.C. Beckman is being honored in the Academic Category for his research in development of nonfluorous, highly CO2-soluble materials.

Beckman's work with CO2—carbon dioxide—explores its use as an environmentally benign solvent, as a medium for creating microcellular materials, and as a catalyst. His pioneering work in creating a gel form of CO2 is being employed in enhanced oil recovery, maximizing the output of older wells efficiently and in an environmentally friendly manner.

"We're very proud that Eric is getting national recognition from the EPA for his brilliant, innovative work with carbon dioxide, creating products and processes that are not only environmentally safe, but are efficient and economically sensible for industry," said Gerald D. Holder, U.S. Steel Dean of Engineering at Pitt.

The selection of Beckman marks the fifth time in the past four years that a Pittsburgh-based researcher or corporation has been honored with an EPA Green Chemistry Challenge Award. Bayer Corporation has won twice, in 2000 and 2001; PPG Industries once, in 2001; and Carnegie Mellon Chemistry Professor Terry Collins once, in 1999.

The Green Chemistry Challenge Awards were created in 1995 to promote chemical products and manufacturing processes that prevent pollution and are economically competitive. Awards are presented annually in five categories: Alternative Synthetic Pathways, Alternative Solvents and Reaction Conditions, Designing Safer Chemicals, Small Business, and Academic. The awards are selected by an independent panel of experts convened by the American Chemical Society, one of 21 Green Chemistry Challenge Partners.