WILMINGTON, Del. - Charles J. Noelke of DuPont has been elected to the National Academy of Engineers (NAE) for his distinguished work as part of a team that led the company’s efforts to develop and commercialize the replacement process technology for chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) in refrigerants.
Election to the National Academy of Engineering is among the highest professional distinctions accorded to an engineer. Academy membership honors those who have made outstanding contributions to “engineering research, practice, or education, including, where appropriate, significant contributions to the engineering literature,” and to the “pioneering of new and developing fields of technology, making major advancements in traditional fields of engineering, or developing/implementing innovative approaches to engineering education.” Only two other DuPont employees are members of the NAE: DuPont Chairman Charles O. Holliday Jr., elected in 2004, and DuPont Senior Vice President and Chief Science & Technology Officer Uma Chowdhry, elected in 1996.
“The contributions that Charlie has made to DuPont and to the development of sustainable engineering solutions over his 30-year career are outstanding,” Chowdhry said. “He is both a leader and an engineering role model who has had a significant impact on DuPont and the world through his technical contributions.”
“My career has been focused on commercializing new and more sustainable products and technologies,” Noelke said. “I have had the good fortune to work with outstanding people in DuPont on meaningful programs that impact society. I am honored that this work has been recognized with election to the NAE.”
Noelke, a chemical engineer at DuPont’s Fayetteville, N.C., facility, led the team that developed HFC-134a, a replacement to CFC refrigerants that were recognized in the early 1970s to be accumulating in the atmosphere and potentially depleting the earth’s ozone layer. His team proceeded from computer-generated process modeling to commercialization of new HFC-134a process technology in less than three years. This pioneering work was recognized along with other DuPont efforts with the National Medal of Technology in 2002 “for policy and technology leadership in the phaseout and replacement of chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs).”
Noelke also played a significant role in the development of the commercial process for producing DuPont™ Tedlar® films, a key material in the production of photovoltaic systems.