Georgia Tech professor to discuss sustainable technology

Published: Jan 21, 2010 5:39:00 PM
Media Contact: Sally Credille,, 334.844.3447

Charles Eckert, founder and director of the Center for Specialty Separations and J. Erskine Love Jr. Institute Professor in the School of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering at Georgia Tech, will present "Novel Solvents for Sustainable Technology," on Wednesday, Jan. 27, at 2 p.m. in 1103 Shelby Center. His lecture is part of the inaugural Basore Distinguished Lectureship and Visitation Program, hosted by Auburn University's Department of Chemical Engineering.

Eckert's group uses a combination of chemistry, engineering and solvent systems to develop more benign processes with economic advantages for the energy and green pharma industries. Solvent management is important for most chemical processes involving reactions or separations because they bring reactants and catalysts together and facilitate purification processes.

In the energy area, his team has developed solvents to improve carbon dioxide capture from stack gases and facilitate energy recovery from oil shale and tar sands. For the pharmaceutical industry, these solvents can be used for both reactions and separations

Eckert is a leader in research linking fundamental chemistry to applications in diverse areas, such as separations, reactions, energy, environmental control and advanced materials. He has been called the father of supercritical fluids for his pioneering work in exploring and applying the properties of these unique solvents. He has authored nearly 300 research papers, books and monographs and has presented more than 400 invited lectures.

Eckert has collaborated with chemist Charles Liotta for more than 20 years to combine organic chemistry with a plethora of engineering applications that produce environmentally and economically superior processes. In 2004, Eckert and Liotta were honored by the Presidential Green Chemistry Challenge Award, presented for widespread industrial deployment of their ongoing research using solvents for sustainable technology.

He has been awarded with the American Institute of Chemical Engineers' Alan P. Colburn Award, the William H. Walker Award and the Clarence Gerhold Award for Separations. The American Chemical Society selected him for the Ipatieff Award and the E. V. Murphree Award. He is a fellow of the American Institute of Chemical Engineers and American Association for the Advancement of Science and a member of the National Academy of Engineering. He holds a joint appointment in the School of Chemistry and Biochemistry at Georgia Tech. He was a faculty member and department head at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign.