Dr Daniel J Ostgard of Evonik Industries will receive the renowned Raney Award in recognition of his outstanding work in the field of heterogeneous catalysis. The catalysis researcher is receiving this award for the development of highly selective powder- and fixed-bed nickel catalysts used in industrial hydrogenation processes. The Raney Award is given out every two years by the Organic Reactions Catalysis Society (ORCS) to scientists who have made an important contribution to catalyst technology in organic synthesis. Ostgard will accept the award in March 2008 during the ORCS meeting in Richmond, Virginia, USA. “We are very proud of this honor,” said Dr Hans-Josef Ritzert, head of Evonik’s Catalysts Business Line. “It underscores not only the scientific quality of our research, but its importance for efficient industrial systems.”
Ostgard has worked for Evonik Industries since 1991—first in the United States and then, since 1998, in Germany. One of the primary focuses of his group’s research has been activated metal catalysts. Some of the group’s accomplishments include catalysts that can be used for the complete hydrogenation of nitriles to primary amines.
Possible applications include the nitrile hydrogenation that occurs during Vitamin B2 synthesis and the selective hydrogenation of unsaturated fatty nitriles to their corresponding unsaturated amines that are used for the production of surfactants and emulsifiers. Ostgard’s group has also elucidated the mechanism for the hydrogenating sugars such as fructose and glucose. These reactions produce sugar substitutes such as sorbitol or mannitol, which are suitable for use by diabetics.
Dr Ostgard has used his catalyst expertise since 2006 in the Marketing and Business Development unit of the Catalysts Business Line for acquiring new business opportunities.
The ORCS was established in 1975 as a discussion forum for applied catalysis research, with a focus on organic synthesis. Its members include both university and industrial researchers from specialty chemicals, fine chemicals, and pharmaceuticals companies. The organization has given out the Raney Award, which is sponsored by the American company WR Grace & Co., since 1992. The name of the award honors the American engineer Murray Raney, who discovered the nickel catalyst named after him in 1926. Raney-type nickel catalysts are commonly used for the transformation of organic compounds on an industrial scale, especially for the hydrogenation of unsaturated compounds.
Evonik is a leading supplier of catalytic system solutions. It offers an extensive range of homogeneous and heterogeneous catalysts from a single source, as well as an all-inclusive package of services for customers in the life sciences, fine chemicals, industrial chemicals, chemical intermediates, and polymers segments.