John Sinfelt, born 1931: His research allowed refiners to remove lead alkyls from gasoline years before the mandated deadline.
John Sinfelt started research at Standard Oil Development Company (now ExxonMobil Research and Engineering) in 1954 on improving the platinum catalysts that another chemical engineer, Vladimir Haensel, had pioneered at the Universal Oil Products Company for the production of gasoline.
After developing a new approach to bimetallic catalysts, which he called “clusters,” Sinfelt invented a superior platinum-iridium catalyst that was important in the quest to produce lead-free, high-octane gasoline cheaply. His work also provided a scientific base for other processes to produce petrochemicals in high volume.
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Excerpted with permission, Chemical Heritage Foundation