LBL Scientists Heinemann and Rosenfeld win two of DOE's top awards

January 14, 1994

By Lynn Yarris,

Two out of the three annual Energy and Science Technology Awards presented by the U.S. Department of Energy went this year to LBL scientists.

Heinz Heinemann, a chemist in the Materials Sciences Division, won the Homer H. Lowry Award in Fossil Energy, and Art Rosenfeld, a physicist in the Energy and Environment Division and head of LBL's Center for Building Science, won the Sadi Carnot Award in Energy Conservation. The third prize, the John Ericsson Award in Renewable Energy, went to Utah University's Sambunath Ghosh.

Energy Secretary Hazel O'Leary will present the winners with their awards at a ceremony on Friday, Jan. 21, 1994 at DOE headquarters in Washington, D.C. The honorees will each receive a gold medal, a citation, and $10,000.

All three awards were established by DOE in 1987 to recognize the contributions of scientists in areas of research that are considered vital to the economic future of our nation. This is the fourth time that the awards have been given.

The Homer H. Lowry Award was named for a scientist who, from the 1920s through the 1960s, investigated the chemistry of coal and other carbonaceous materials. He authored a book that became the standard international reference for coal science.

This year's winner, Heinemann, has been a senior scientist at LBL since 1978. His accomplishments have included research into coal gasification, catalytic coal liquefaction, hydrodenitrification, nitrogen oxide emission control, and, most recently, the identification of a catalyst that converts methane into valuable hydrocarbons without the production of unwanted carbon dioxide.

Prior to coming to LBL, Heinemann, who recently celebrated his 80th birthday, worked at the Mobil Research and Development Corporation. There, among many other notable accomplishments, he developed a process for converting methanol to gasoline. Born in Berlin, Germany, he earned a Ph.D. in chemistry from the University of Basel in Switzerland and came to the U.S. in 1938. He became a citizen in 1944.

During his 60 years in research, Heinemann has contributed to the invention and development of 14 commercial fossil fuel processes, holds 75 patents, and has authored some 100 publications. He is a member of the National Academy of Engineers, was the founder and editor of Catalysis Reviews, and was a recipient of a DOE Distinguished Scientist/Engineer Award.

The Sadi Carnot Award is named for the 19th century French scientist who founded the science of thermodynamics and who was the first to study and maximize steam engine efficiency. In 1988, the first Carnot Award went to Sam Berman, who heads E&E's lighting program. This year's winner, Rosenfeld, has had an illustrious career spanning five decades and two disciplines -- particle physics and energy efficiency.

After receiving his Ph.D. in physics from UC Berkeley in 1954, Rosenfeld joined the University's Physics Department and LBL's Physics Division in 1955. During the next 20 years, as a member of Luis Alvarez's group, he worked on some of high-energy physics' most important experiments. He also was instrumental in the development of the Particle Data Tables. Sparked by the 1973 oil embargo by OPEC, Rosenfeld switched fields and embarked on a second career that has resulted in major contributions toward the development of energy efficient technologies for buildings.

Numbered among his many successes are the DOE-2 whole building simulation program, which is the international benchmark against which other simulation codes are measured; the concepts of "least cost energy services" and "conservation supply curves," which have been widely adopted as the framework for technology comparisons and decision-making.

One of Rosenfeld's proudest accomplishments is his start-up of a cool surfaces and heat islands research project aimed at reducing the turn-of-the-century temperatures of major U.S. cities to 1990 levels. This, Rosenfeld says, could save about 10 gigawatts of power and about $1 billion a year. The project has been adopted by the Clinton Administration as a major part of its plan to reduce carbon dioxide emissions in America and is now called "Cool Communities." (The principle investigator for the project here at LBL now is E&E's Hashem Akbari.)

Working through Pacific Gas and Electric's "Act 2" program, Rosenfeld also helped launch the California Collaborative Process, which is designed to test advanced efficiency investments. From the first retrofit to come out of this program, a 50-percent savings has been achieved at PG&E's research and development office building. He has also worked with other LBL researchers to demonstrate efficient lighting, windows, and air-conditioning in developing countries.

In 1986, Rosenfeld received the Leo Szilard Award for physics in the public interest presented by the American Physical Society. He has collaborated on several books and is the author of more than 320 published papers and review articles on particle physics, uses of computers, data processing, arms control, and energy utilization.