Applied Catalysis Award 2016 Winner

David Johnson
David Johnson


David has been a key contributor to the development of the Lucite Alpha process for the production of methyl methacrylate for the post oil age, based on natural gas. This process is superior in both environmental impact and material usage; several plants are built or planned.


David Johnson was educated at Oxford University, followed by a PhD in Radiation Chemistry at Leeds University and a brief post doc in surface science at Bradford University before joining ICI Exploratory Research Group in 1977. He researched a number of different petrochemical processes before starting up a project for ICI Acrylics (now Lucite International) to develop a new route to methyl methacrylate in 1991 which led to the Alpha Process. The team, in which he continued to lead the chemistry research, successfully commercialised the technology in Singapore in 2008.

About the company

UK based Lucite International has around 1800 employees worldwide. It is a specialist methyl methacrylate and polymer company and, since 2009, has been part of Mitsubishi Rayon Limited, the world's largest manufacturer of methyl methacrylates. Methacrylate polymers are found in a wide range of products including flat screen televisions and paint.