Mark McLinden has won the 2019 J&E Hall gold medal. The US-based chemical engineer led a team which employed methods to identify the best candidates for the next generation of low-GWP refrigerants.
McLinden was the principal investigator for the ground-breaking five-year project funded by the US Department of Energy. His team combined expertise in chemistry, thermodynamics and refrigeration and chemical industries to comply with international regulations.
“I am very honoured and somewhat surprised to receive this award,” said McLinden.
“When you look at the list of past recipients of the J&E Hall Gold Medal you see folks who are absolute leaders in the refrigeration field – so its an honour to join that group.”
Using machine and computer-led intelligence, McLinden’s team identified the fundamental thermodynamic characteristics of the ideal refrigerant. They then carried out a screening of a database of 60 million molecules to identify those with the right characteristics.
No fluid was found to be ideal and the study recommended refrigerant blends as a way to find a compromise between competing environmental, safety and performance requirements. Work to identify the blends is continuing.
“I’m surprised perhaps because the award usually seems to go to people who invent a new technology or perhaps implement a technology in some new way.”
“My work is much more fundamental thermodynamics, so it’s a little bit out of the mainstream of refrigeration technology. It’s very nice to see the fundamental thermodynamics that I work in being recognised.”
“I certainly could not have don’t it without the team. I have been very fortunate to have been working with some very good people on this project and many other projects over the years,” McLinden concluded.
The award was presented at the Institute of Refrigeration annual dinner in London.