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Terrence J. Collins
A champion in the field of green chemistry, Terry Collins has been recognized internationally for his work in creating a new class of oxidation catalysts with the potential for enormous, positive impact on the environment. Experts worldwide believe that Collins’ systems can be used to effectively replace chlorine-based oxidants in large global technologies so that some of society’s most toxic chlorinated residuals are not produced. The systems also enable valuable new technologies for previously unsolved environmental and health problems.
His honors include the Environmental Protection Agency’s 1999 Presidential Green Chemistry Challenge Award, the Pittsburgh Award from the American Chemical Society and Japan’s Society of Pure and Applied Coordination Chemistry Award. Collins is an honorary professor and a Distinguished Alumni Award recipient of the University of Auckland, New Zealand, a fellow of the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation and the World Innovation Institute, and a Dreyfus Teacher-Scholar. He is associate editor for the Americas of the journal “Green Chemistry.”
Professor Collins has developed of a series of metal-containing catalytic peroxide activators that can be used in the pulp and paper industry, for water purification in diverse industries, for the facile destruction of dangerous pollutants including chemical warfare agents, for removing sulfur from fuels, and for products as commonplace as laundry detergent.
Collins learned of the insidious health damage caused by pollutants from paper and pulp mills and pesticides in his native New Zealand. He began exploring whether there could be an environmentally benign and cost-effective new technology to avoid or to destroy the pollutants. After a major breakthrough in the ligand design, Collins and his fellow researchers achieved both goals and more. Oxidation processes that employ hydrogen peroxide instead of chlorine-based compounds can now be used to avoid and eliminate pollutants in these and other industries. And there are application areas still to be discovered.
Collins earned his undergraduate and doctor’s degrees from the University of Auckland, New Zealand. He became a member of the Carnegie Mellon faculty in 1987.