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News ReleaseLifetime Achievement Award for Air Products’ Professor

April 23, 2008 Lehigh Valley, Pa.

The Royal Society of Chemistry (RSC) has awarded their prestigious Creativity in Industry Award to Professor John Irven, Director of Technology, Packaged Gases Air Products and Visiting Professor in Chemistry at Queen Mary, University of London.

The RSC’s annual lifetime achievement award is given to an individual for contributions to chemical science research and innovation in an industrial environment, with demonstrated evidence of commercialisation.

John’s career achievements at Air Products are predominantly related to packaged (cylinder) gases – a very mature industry where innovation in product lines has traditionally been deemed unattainable. Yet innovations such as Air Products’ Integra® cylinder, their Maxx® range of gases and BIP® technology – all of which John played a leading role in their research, development and commercialisation - have challenged this perception. The Integra cylinders, along with the Maxx range of gases, are targeted at the welding industry – making welding safer for the user and the environment, as well as more efficient than other gases and cylinders. BIP technology is targeted at the laboratory and analytical industries, where a high degree of gas purity is required, and where it gives improved analytical detection limits, resolution and consistency, together with longer chromatographic column life.

The Queen’ Awards for Enterprise recognised BIP technology with an Innovation award in 2004 and the Integra cylinders and the Maxx range of gases in 2007. Recognising John’s contribution to these achievements, the Queen’s Award committee have invited John to address the 2008 awards ceremony to share Air Products’ successful innovation case study.

Commenting on his achievement Professor John Irven said: “ Along with being thrilled that my peers have given me this recognition , I am also grateful to my sponsors, the RSC, colleagues and former-colleagues, for all the great teamwork and support they have shown, enabling me to win this award. I continue to be amazed by the continued success in the area of innovation we achieve at Air Products and within the packaged gases industry. It is heartening to see how this is perceived externally, especially for such a lesser known sector of the Chemical Industry!”

From the RSC, Heather McFarlane , Industry Specialist, said: “Applying Innovation in the chemical sciences is a critical success factor for organisations across the world. Success in this area requires technology leaders that have a strong knowledge of chemistry and its possibilities, combined with an ability to understand market trends and business strategies to help lead innovation breakthroughs. John has repeatedly demonstrated these activities and is a worthy winner of RSC’s Creativity in Industry award“.

In addition to his positions at Air Products and Queen Mary, John has also contributed extensively to The Welding Institute (TWI) and the UK Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council Peer Review College (EPSRC). In previous roles, he also researched, developed and implemented the world’s first optical fibre communication systems whilst at ITT-STL, along with thin film materials deposition at Plessey. 

Notes to Editors:
Air Products (NYSE:APD) serves customers in technology, energy, healthcare and industrial markets worldwide with a unique portfolio of products, services and solutions, providing atmospheric gases, process and specialty gases, performance materials and chemical intermediates. Founded in 1940, Air Products has built leading positions in key growth markets such as semiconductor materials, refinery hydrogen, home healthcare services, natural gas liquefaction, and advanced coatings and adhesives. The company is recognized for its innovative culture, operational excellence and commitment to safety and the environment and is listed in the Dow Jones Sustainability and FTSE4Good Indices. The company has annual revenues of $10 billion, operations in over 40 countries, and over 22,000 employees around the globe.

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