Bradley C. Bockrath


Henry H. Storch Award in Fuel Chemistry sponsored by Exxon Research & Engineering Co. Awardee BRADLEY C BOCKRATH is being honored for his research leading to improved understanding of complex coal liquefaction mechanisms at the molecular level as well as for the energy he devotes to other professionally related activities. He's made outstanding contributions to the fundamental chemistry of coal conversion to liquids in the areas of free radicals, hydrogen transfer reactions, and the chemistry of liquefaction catalysts. Bockrath's work has shown the complex role of pyrite in coal liquefaction and the importance of separating the effects caused by catalysis by pyrrhotite from the effects caused by the production of hydrogen sulfide. Although pyrrhotite catalyzes the hydrogenation/dehydrogenation of hydroaromatics, it is not active for initiating a variety of free radical reactions that occur in the presence of pyrite. In research leading to a presentation at the Gordon Conference on Fuel Science in 1979, Bockrath was able to measure relative rate constants for the transfer of hydrogen from many compounds typically found in recycle solvents. This significantly increased knowledge of the molecular properties governing observed hydrogen transfer rates. During research on the physical and chemical properties of coalderived asphaltenes, Bockrath established those fractions responsible for the viscosity of coal liquids. Variables in methodology of asphaltene separation were identified, and their effect on the quantitative aspects of asphaltene recovery were established. In more recent research, Bockrath developed a detailed description of the free radical chemistry during coprocessing, and this was reported at the 1988 Gordon conference. After receiving a B.S. degree in chemistry from Union College, Schenectady, N.Y., in 1961, Bockrath did industrial research on xerographic processes at Eastman Kodak for two years before going on to complete his Ph.D. in physical organic chemistry in 1971 at the State University of New York, Albany. Since 1974 he has been employed at the Pittsburgh Energy Technology Center of the Department of Energy where he has been leader of the Coal Chemistry Group since 1985. Much of Bockrath's time is also spent on work as a member of the editorial board of the journal FUEL. And he has 45 publications to his credit as author or coauthor. In 1990 he will serve as program chairman for the ACS Division of Fuel Chemistry. A colleague adds: "His rational approach, sound technical judgment, and depth of knowledge of coal science and chemistry are widely recognized in the profession."