Rodney H. Banks, Nalco Research Fellow, to Receive 2011 SCI Perkin Medal

Rodney H. Banks

Rodney H. Banks

May 23, 2011 - Naperville, IL, and Philadelphia

The Society of Chemical Industry, America International Group, announced today that the 2011 SCI Perkin Medal will be presented to Rodney H. Banks, a research fellow at Nalco (NYSE: NLC). He will receive the medal at a dinner in his honor on September 20, 2011, at the Hyatt Hotel in Philadelphia.  

“Rod Banks is an outstanding industrial technologist,” said Stephanie Burns, chairperson of the SCI. “This award recognizes his fundamental contributions to new sensor technologies that have led to improved water and energy efficiencies for a variety of industries.”

Banks holds a Ph.D. in inorganic/physical chemistry from the University of California, Berkeley, where he worked for Nobel laureate and fellow Perkin winner Glenn Seaborg. In the mid-1980s, Banks and his coworkers at Nalco identified the need for improved control of industrial water treatment and commercial processes. He and colleague John Hoots subsequently led the invention and commercialization of TRASAR fluorescent tracing technology.

During the past decade, Banks invented a broad suite of technologies incorporating chemical and mechanical sensors for intelligent monitoring and control of industrial water and process applications that have saved more than 300 billion gallons of fresh water at thousands of customer locations around the world.  

“Nalco is very proud for Rod to receive this prestigious recognition for his work,” said Erik Fyrwald, Nalco chairman and CEO. “The evolution of sensor technology that Rod and his team have developed is transforming how water systems are treated, delivering enormous water and energy savings.”

The current generation, 3D TRASAR automation technology, has won a United States Presidential Green Chemistry Challenge Award for its cooling water application. Its use is being expanded to a variety of additional applications, including boiler water treatment, membrane operations, papermaking, and refinery process applications.

In addition to TRASAR sensing and control, Banks has also created various electrochemical, optical, quartz crystal microbalance-based sensors for chemical treatment levels, corrosion, scale, and microbial fouling detection. These detect system performance in real time and allow optimum control of chemical treatments, increasing the longevity of mechanical assets, improving process and worker safety, optimizing water and energy usage and minimizing impact on the environment. He holds more than 20 patents and has published nine scientific papers.

About the SCI Perkin Medal
The annual award is recognized as the highest honor given for outstanding work in applied chemistry in the United States. It commemorates the discovery of the first synthetic dye (the so-called Perkin mauve) by Sir William Henry Perkin in 1856. This discovery was a significant step forward in organic chemistry that led to the birth of a major segment of the chemical industry. The SCI Perkin Medal was first awarded to Sir William at a banquet held by the SCI in New York in 1906. Since then, more than 100 such awards have been given to notable scientists.

About the Society of Chemical Industry
SCI America International Group, launched in 1894, is part of the Society of Chemical Industry’s international organization. It provides a unique networking forum for chemical industry leaders, industrial scientists and technologists to exchange new business ideas and best practices. It celebrates achievement to promote public awareness of the contributions of industrial chemistry and inspire students to enter technical careers.

SCI America Section also offers its members the opportunity to become part of an international network of industry thought leaders and researchers. Through specialized conferences, e-events, and publications, it helps foster best practices in fields as diverse as fine and commodity chemicals, food, pharmaceuticals, biotechnology, agriculture, and environmental protection.

SCI America events are managed by the Chemical Heritage Foundation (CHF). The award dinner will be the final event of Innovation Day, a full day of research collaboration in the molecular sciences held at CHF on September 20.

About Nalco
Nalco is the world’s largest sustainability services company focused on industrial water, energy, and air applications; delivering significant environmental, social, and economic performance benefits to our customers. We help our customers reduce energy, water, and other natural resource consumption, enhance air quality, minimize environmental releases and improve productivity and end products while boosting the bottom line. Together our comprehensive solutions contribute to the sustainable development of customer operations. 

Nalco is a member of the Dow Jones Sustainability World and North America Indexes. More than 12,000 Nalco employees operate in 150 countries supported by a comprehensive network of manufacturing facilities, sales offices, and research centers to serve a broad range of end markets. In 2010, Nalco achieved sales of $4.25 billion. For more information visit  

Chemical Heritage Foundation Contact
Neil Gussman

Need Meeting Space?

CHF’s state-of-the-art conference center is in Philadelphia’s beautiful historic district.

Upcoming Events

Meet us in person at one of our events.


Distillations Podcast logo
Listen to the latest episodes of CHF’s award-winning podcast.