Wallace Rae’s current research focus is the technologies which may be employed at scale to decarbonise the transport industry.
He has been continuously employed for 46 years as an industrial chemist, working firstly for the New Zealand-founded company Ivon Watkins, which later became Dow Elanco. The sixties and seventies were interesting times, under the policy of restricting imported goods if they could be manufactured in New Zealand; everything from phenoxy herbicides to shampoo and detergent surfactants. During this period he gained experience in process chemistry as well as an insight into the workings of a global multinational. In visiting overseas colleagues he was impressed with the collaboration of the company with the universities in applying basic research to the development of new products. Understanding the basic science leads to a more directed approach to new ventures.
Phone: 021 02289949
Later in his career he joined a start-up company as a formulation development chemist, and on many field trips gained a greater appreciation of the application of science to modern agriculture and the new “soft chemistry” which puts greater emphasis on the role of integrated pest management. The company also had a highly innovative approach to wood preservation, particularly in increasing the protection of engineered wood in adverse environments. This fed a continuing interest in how we should be increasing the substitution of wood for cement and steel in high rise structures.
Throughout his life he has been interested in team sport, particularly as it relates to the development of young people. He has coached youth hockey for 40 years and is a life member of the Taranaki Hockey Association.
Reducing carbon dependency
Latterly he has taken a greater interest in environmental matters such as kauri die back. He is a regular attendee of the potting and planting team at Queen Elizabeth Park. Throughout his career he has concentrated on patent publication, but he is now interested in communicating the complexities of the new technologies, which if adopted will lead to a reduced dependence on carbon-based energy. To this end he has so far collaborated with Paul Callister on publishing a paper on decarbonising aviation, and currently has a paper on hydrogen in draft. His approach is as much as possible data-based with an insight as to how the various proposed technologies will work at scale.