Thomas Watson has been presented with the Institute of Refrigeration’s (IOR) J&E Hall gold medal in recognition of his ground-breaking work to improve the efficiency of chillers and industrial heat pumps.

Watson’s work included the introduction of large capacity oil-free magnetic bearing compressors, the first centrifugal chiller with zero-ozone depleting potential and the safe application of low GWP flammable refrigerants.

Watson was presented with the gold medal at the IOR annual dinner in London.

“It was overwhelming. I really didn’t expect it,” Watson proclaimed.

“For anything you do, you depend on your co-workers, your family, supervisors and people that help you. This is not just for me. To be singled out is a tremendous honour and sometimes I don’t feel worthy because of all the things people have done before that I have built on,” he added.

Mr Watson receiving the J & E Hall Gold Medal from IOR President Steve Gill. (L) J & E Hall Managing Director Mark Roberts.

Watson receiving the J & E Hall Gold Medal from IOR President Steve Gill. (L) J & E Hall Managing Director Mark Roberts.

A major contribution by Watson was the development of the Templifier® industrial heat pump. He was the lead engineer working with the Westinghouse Electric Research and Development Centre on this innovative technology. This product is used to provide high-temperature hot water recovered from numerous sources such as heat normally rejected by cooling towers and condensers for process cooling.

Watson was a member of the project Monitoring Sub-Committee for ASHARE Research Project 1308-TRP, he was the team leader for the development of the first production non-ozone depleting HFC-134a centrifugal chiller and he was the leader of the engineering development team for the first R-410A screw compressor chiller in the industry.

Other significant contributions by Watson include being the engineering development team leader for the introduction of water chillers with active magnetic bearing direct-drive variable-speed centrifugal compressor technology.

Watson is currently a consultant for Daikin Applied in Virginia and recently chaired the ASHRAE standards project committee that published the first American National Standard on Legionellosis: Risk Management for Building Water Systems. He is heavily involved with the application of the new low GWP HFO and HCFO (hydrochlorofluoroolefin) refrigerants in water chiller and industrial heat pumps, and he is chair of the Air-conditioning, Heating and Refrigerating Technology Institute Research and Technology Flammable Refrigerants Sub-Committee.

(L) Thomas Watson with an early centrifugal chiller.

(L) Watson with an early centrifugal chiller.

J & E Hall International has a long engineering history dating back to 1785. J & E Hall International has a worldwide reputation for developing innovative products for the industrial and commercial markets.

The J&E Hall gold medal is an internationally respected award that recognises the most noteworthy practical contribution to the field of refrigeration. The award, which has been sponsored by J&E Hall International has been awarded consistently for 40 years.