How This Inventor's Legacy Helps the Planet
Known as the founder of “HFOs,” he helped invent an alternative to damaging chemicals.
Think about an invention that could have the same impact as planting more than 77 billion trees.
Or the equivalent of removing more than 42 million cars from the road each year.
That’s what Honeywell’s Solstice portfolio equates to and the legacy of Rajiv Singh, senior research and development director.
What’s it like to have that kind of a legacy?
“There’s a sense of accomplishment when something that you have done has made a difference,” Rajiv said. “Seeing something you worked on or initiated that is now commercial and people are using and helping them maintain a good life— what more could you want?”
What are HFOs?
Rajiv retires from Honeywell in 2021. And the impact he’s had is clear. He’s known as the founder of “HFOs” – or Hydrofluoroolefins. Licensed as our Solstice product line, those fluorine products are alternatives to harmful Chlorofluorocarbons (CFCS) which contribute to the Ozone layer. Those molecules are found in common products such as car and home air conditioners, aerosols and refrigerators.
During his 31 years, Rajiv has lead Honeywell fluorine products innovation, earning 247 granted patents for his work. His tenure has been spent at the Buffalo Research Laboratory in New York, which he originally joined through Honeywell predecessor company Allied Signal.
Rajiv worked on experiments in the lab after first modeling them with a computer. That included simulations with property measurements on the gases, calculations, analysis of temperature, density and heat capacity.
A legacy of innovation
Rajiv filed his first patent in 1993 and spent the next decade developing Solstice. By the early 2000s demand for alternatives to CFCs exploded.
More than 200 patents later, he can see his innovation in canister that is sold at retail stores to industrial settings like rail cars.
But he’s humble. “We just do our job.”
“Every once in a rare while you run into someone who’s just brilliant and also incredibly humble,” said Sanjeev Rastogi, vice president and general manager of Advanced Materials Fluorine Products. “Rajiv Singh is one of those people. He’s basically the brains behind our Solstice HFO franchise.”
So what’s Rajiv’s advice for someone who wants to follow in his footsteps?
“You have to keep your eyes open,” he said, citing the adage that luck or chance only favors the prepared mind.
“If you’re curious, you’ll see the solution to a problem.”