Art Ragauskas

Ragauskas Gets the Royal Treatment

Royal Society of Chemistry Honors Him With Environment Prize

UT–Oak Ridge National Laboratory Governor’s Chair for Biorefining Art Ragauskas is a well-known figure in the world of alternative fuels, with numerous accolades to his name.

By David Goddard. Photography by Shawn Poynter.

Now he’s added perhaps his most notable recognition to date: the United Kingdom’s Royal Society of Chemistry has chosen him for its 2022 Environment Prize for his role in the development and refinement of plant-based fuels.

“I am deeply honored and grateful for this recognition,” said Ragauskas. “Credit goes to my students, postdoctoral fellows, research scientists, and colleagues with whom I work. This award is a testament to the countless hours of work and research that have helped shape our current understanding of biofuels.”

When notifying Ragauskas that he had been selected for the honor, the Royal Society’s Environment, Sustainability, and Energy Division Prize Committee noted those efforts and his pioneering approach to finding the tools and developing the basic understanding of how to convert lignin into fuel.

It is great to see Dr. Ragauskas get this well-deserved recognition of his work. It’s not only validation of breakthroughs and discoveries that he has accomplished, but it also serves as a sign of how impactful his work is and his role in trying to improve the world around him.”

—Matthew Mench

Ragauskas was selected for this year’s honor based on factors including the originality and impact of his research, the quality of related aspects of his work such as publications, and his professionalism and collaborative spirit.

In addition to his roles in UT’s Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering and at ORNL, Ragauskas serves in the UT Institute of Agriculture’s Center for Renewable Carbon.

Along with the prestige that comes with the award, he will receive £3,000 (around $3,800), a medal, and the opportunity to give a series of lectures across the UK and the Republic of Ireland.

Among Ragauskas’s other honors, he is a Fellow of both the Royal Society of Chemistry and the American Association for the Advancement of Science, a member of the Academy Board of the International Academy of Wood Science, and the recipient of the 2017 American Institute of Chemical Engineers Green Process Engineering Award and the 2019 AIChE Chase Award.

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