The Society of Chemical Industry (SCI), America Group announced that John Sworen, Technical Fellow at The Chemours Company (Chemours), will be awarded the 2019 SCI Gordon E Moore Medal. The honour recognises 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 recognise early-career success in innovation.

“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 and Chair of SCI America. “John’s work on Zelan or Teflon EcoElite exceeds expectations, delivering a breakthrough technology committed to reducing the environmental footprint of treated fabrics. SCI is pleased to honour 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 per cent 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.