The NAMF Award committee selected Dr. Roy Penney as the winner of the 2011 NAMF award.
Roy Penney has been a stalwart member of the mixing community from its early days in Henniker, NH. He served as the conference chair of Mixing V in 1975, and as AICHE programming chair for many years. He has published widely through conference publications, always with an accompanying paper, and through several books, primarily focused on process design. Roy worked with Monasanto for a number of years, and then moved to the University of Arkansas where he has mentored many students through the process design course. His collected papers are in the process of being archived on the University of Arkansas website.
One of Penney’s most important achievements in industrial mixing research and development was leading the engineering effort at the A.E. Staley Manufacturing Co. and the German company Henkel Co. to design a chemical reactor system to mix and react dextrose, a sugar made from corn, with fatty alcohol from palm oil to produce alkyl polyglocoside. This chemical, which is made from natural, renewable resources, is an important ingredient in personal care products like hand soap and shampoo. Reacting the two ingredients that make up alkyl polyglocoside requires a strong acid catalyst, and when the reaction is complete, the catalyst must be neutralized quickly using sodium hydroxide. “You must have very good and fast blending when you introduce the sodium hydroxide,” said Penney, “or the dextrose will degrade in the presence of strong caustic.” The reactor system designed by the Staley Engineering Team is currently in use by Henkel, at plants in Cincinnati, Ohio, and Dusseldorf, Germany. Henkel uses the alkyl polyglocoside in its products, including Dial soaps, and sells it to other companies such as Procter and Gamble.