Dr. Thomas A. Puckette, an Eastman Chemical Company Technology Fellow based in Longview, Texas, received the 2011 Paul N. Rylander Award at the 24th Biennial ORCS Conference in Annapolis, Maryland, on April 16, 2012. The BASF sponsored award is presented annually to researchers who have made significant contributions in the application of catalysis in organic reactions.
Dr. Puckette is an innovative leader in the development of world-class hydroformylation (Oxo) processes. Many of his inventions have been disclosed in the 42 U.S. patents he holds. His work involving halophosphite catalyst ligands represents a significant technological advancement and has greatly increased efficiency and flexibility in Oxo manufacturing processes.
Catalysts are materials introduced into a chemical process that transform raw material into product. The ligands Dr. Puckette discovered are combined with rhodium to form catalysts that can be used in low pressure hydroformylation. That process converts olefins into aldehydes, which are then used to make various Eastman products, including Eastman TexanolTM ester alcohol and Eastman TritanTM copolyester. Eastman produces millions of pounds of product each day using this process. Having increased efficiency and flexibility significantly reduces manufacturing costs while enhancing the ability to meet product demands.