Dr Abhichandani was one of the 22 research chemists the ACS named Heroes of Chemistry for being "chemical innovators whose work has led to the welfare and progress of humanity" in a significant way in the past decade. The 2007 Heroes were honoured in Boston at the ACS's 234th national meeting.
He was one of the seven scientists chosen from ExxonMobil Research and Engineering Company, Fairfax, Virginia, which developed 'PxMax,' a chemical process that helps make polyethylene terephthalate (PET), a important plastic found in woven materials, clothing, home furnishing, containers, LCDs, films and coatings, among other things.
The process dramatically reduces the cost of production, generates less environmental waste and significantly reduces the energy needed, ACS noted.
Dr Abichandani who received his PhD in chemical engineering from the University of Pittsburgh, joined Mobil in 1990 in technology licensing. In the early 1990s his research focused on developing and commercialising perfume technology, including the precursor to PxMax. He also invented XyMax, a new technology used in ExxonMobil and by several licensee plants, for which he won the 2003 Thomas Alva Edison award. In 2000, he joined ExxonMobil Chemicals where he went on to manage research and development of basic chemicals.
In 2003, he became manager of catalyst research for Univation Technologies, a joint venture between EMCC and The Dow Chemical Company. Today, as the catalyst technology manager at Univation, he manages both the technology business of catalysts.
The Heroes of Chemistry programme, started in 1996, recognises chemical scientists whose work in traditional or nontraditional fields of chemistry and chemical engineering has led to the successful innovation and development of commercial products based on chemistry.
Individuals were nominated by their companies and the winners chosen by an ACS panel.
ACS, the world's largest scientific society, is a nonprofit organisation chartered by the United States Congress, and a global leader in providing access to chemistry-related research through its multiple databases, peer-reviewed journals and scientific conferences.