WILMINGTON, Del. — May 13, 2019 — The Society of Chemical Industry (SCI), America Group, announced today that John Sworen, technical fellow at The Chemours Co. (Chemours), will be awarded the 2019 SCI Gordon E. Moore Medal. In its 16th year, this honor recognizes his contributions in the research and development of non-fluorinated, renewably sourced durable water repellents for use in the consumer textile market. SCI established the Gordon E. Moore Medal to recognize early-career success in innovation, as reflected both in market impact and improvement to quality of life.
“Increased demand for renewably sourced products without sacrificing performance durability calls for innovative ideas to deliver a superior product,” said Craig A. Rogerson, chairman, president, and CEO of Hexion Inc., and chair of SCI America. “John’s work on Zelan™/Teflon EcoElite™ exceeds expectations, delivering a breakthrough technology committed to reducing the environmental footprint of treated fabrics. SCI is pleased to honor John’s outstanding work and contribution to science and industry.”
Sworen led a team that invented the Teflon EcoElite finish, the first renewably sourced, non-fluorinated fabric treatment for durable water repellency and manufactured with 60 percent renewably sourced raw materials. This means that much of what goes into Teflon EcoElite can be naturally regrown and replaced over time. Simultaneously, its performance far exceeds existing non-fluorinated technologies, such as paraffin and silicones. Unlike those types of non-fluorinated finishes, Teflon EcoElite continues to repel water and water-based stains for 30 washes or more. Other product benefits include that the finish is up to 3x more durable than existing non-fluorinated repellents, maintains fabric breathability for maximum comfort, compatible with common finishing auxiliaries, including resins and cross-linking agents and not made with genetically modified organisms (GMO) or alkylphenol ethoxylate (APEO).
“The world is demanding more sustainable solutions, and John has delivered,” said Paul Kirsch, president of Fluoroproducts at Chemours. “His work on Teflon EcoElite has given the textile industry the first-ever non-fluorinated plant-based durable water repellant, which is no small feat. We are so proud that he has received this richly-deserved recognition and can’t wait to see what he will discover next,” he added.
Sworen will be presented the award at a luncheon in his honor during Innovation Day, hosted jointly by SCI and the Science History Institute (the Institute) on September 10, 2019 at the Institute’s headquarters in Philadelphia.
Sworen is a Technical Fellow at The Chemours Co., where his work includes product development of non-fluorinated durable water repellents for use in the consumer textile market. He led a team that invented the Zelan technology platform, a superhydrophobic material that has been adopted by many major brand houses.
Sworen began his career as a research investigator at Chemours predecessor company DuPont. While at DuPont, he led the company’s development of fluorinated surface protection products, inventing and commercializing 18 products used as paper, textile, and tile repellents with best-in-class toxicology profiles.
In 2008, Sworen received the Bolton/Carothers Innovative Science Award for the development of a shortchain soil protectant used in carpeting materials. In 2018 Teflon EcoElite™, one of the products developed by John’s team at Chemours, was the third-place winner for the Product of the Year award at the Bio-Based World News Innovation Awards. Teflon EcoElite is the company’s non-fluorinated, renewably sourced, 60-percent plant-based water repellent.
He holds a B.S. in Chemistry from The Pennsylvania State University and a Ph.D. in Organic and Polymer Chemistry from the University of Florida. John is a Six Sigma Black Belt, has published 13 journal articles, and he holds 27 granted and pending patents.
Posted May 13, 2019
Source: The Chemours Company