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Dr. Charles Coe Receives 2010 Catalysis Club of Philadelphia Award

In recognition of his outstanding contribution to adsorption science, catalysis, and applications of catalysis for organic syntheses, Dr. Charles Coe, Assistant Professor of Chemical Engineering, received the 2010 Catalysis Club of Philadelphia Award. Dr. Coe presented the 2010 Catalysis Club of Philadelphia Award Lecture, entitled “Structural Effects on the Adsorptive Properties of Molecular Sieves,” on September 23 to club members, which include faculty from the Department of Chemical Engineering and representatives from academia and industry.

“Chuck's expertise in nanoscale carbon adsorbents is internationally recognized. I personally am delighted that he has received this well-deserved recognition,” says Dr. Michael Smith, Assistant Professor of Chemical Engineering and Past Chairperson of the Catalysis Club of Philadelphia.

Dr. Coe spent the first part of his career in industry in the Chemical Additives division of Air Products and Chemicals, where he developed a commercial catalyst for accelerating the cure of polyester sheet molded plastics, which is still being sold some 30 years later.

“Chuck’s work with Air Products is familiar to anyone working with zeolites, nanoscale adsorbents, and catalysis in the New York and Philadelphia region,” says Dr. Smith. “His contributions have resulted in processes and products that contribute substantially to Air Products’ bottom line.”

After transferring to the company’s Corporate Research Group, Dr. Coe developed extensive expertise in molecular sieve science. As part of this group, Dr. Coe teamed with project leaders across business units to help develop improved adsorbents and catalysts. He also led the team that created improved adsorbents for the non-cryogenic production of oxygen and was a major contributor to improvements in carbon molecular sieves that allowed the production of high purity nitrogen. His greatest commercial success involved the modification of an adsorbent used to purify nitrogen trifluoride that is used in the production of integrated circuits.

He was also instrumental in developing new analytical methods and instrumentation to obtain fundamental information on small experimental samples. In this area, his most notable accomplishment has been establishing an advanced high pressure microbalance system that supports carbon dioxide capture, hydrogen production, and integrated fuel/energy processes.

Dr. Coe was also a key member of the Department of Energy’s Center of Excellence on Carbon-centered Hydrogen Storage Materials and created a unique differential volumetric adsorption apparatus for measuring high pressure hydrogen isotherms, enabling the development of advanced hydrogen storage materials.

Before retiring from Air Products, Dr. Coe was named a strategic technologist for the corporation and provided internal consultation for a broad range of materials characterization issues involving catalysts, adsorbents, and membranes. His accomplishments have led to 34 issued US patents, 29 peer-reviewed publications, and numerous invited lectures.

After retiring, Dr. Coe joined the Chemical Engineering faculty at Villanova and is sharing his knowledge with the next generation of scientists. This fall, he is teaching courses on alternative energy and chemical engineering economics, as well as Chemical Engineering Lab III.