Freeman Awarded Society of Plastics Engineers International Award

Dr. Benny FreemanBenny Freeman, the Richard B. Curran Centennial Chair in Engineering and chemical engineering professor, has been awarded the Society of Plastics Engineers’ (SPE) International Award-the highest honor given by the society.

The award recognizes lifetime achievements in the plastics industry and nominees are acclaimed internationally by their peers for excellence in their fields. Freeman is being honored for his contributions to plastics engineering, research, technology, service, and education in polymer membranes for low-energy gas and liquid separations.

“Professor Freeman’s sustained outstanding contributions to the plastics industry as a professional engineer, inventor, and educator make him a most deserving candidate,” said Anita J. Hill, Office of the Chief Executive Science Leader with Australia’s Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization.

“What is so impressive about his technical leadership is not only that he has made landmark contributions that have changed the research community’s thinking, but also that his landmark contributions have been continuous and sustained for two decades.”

Freeman’s research focuses on polymers and polymer-based composite materials, with particular emphasis on the transport of small molecules in polymers, which finds applications in areas such as gas separations, liquid separations, water purification and barrier packaging.

His research has been commercialized in both the gas and water purification arenas, contributing water purification filters and energy-efficient membranes for gas separation, such as the purification of natural gas.

Employees stand in front of Advanced Hydro, Inc. in Austin, TexasIn 2009 he formed the Austin-based startup, Advanced Hydro, Inc. The company delivers high-performance membranes and optimized pre-treatment processes for purifying and reclaiming oil and gas related wastewater and the desalination of brackish groundwater or seawater for drinking or industrial use.

“It is a great honor to win SPE’s highest award and to be counted among the outstanding scientists and engineers who have won this award before me,” Freeman said.

Freeman joined the UT Austin faculty in 2002 from North Carolina State University. He received a B.S. in chemical engineering from North Carolina State University in 1983 and a Ph.D. in chemical engineering from the University of California, Berkeley in 1988. He was recently elected Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science and given the Roy W. Tess Award in coatings.

The International Award will be presented at the SPE ANTEC meeting April 22-24, 2013 in Cincinnati, Ohio.



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