Solvay, Ernest(ĕrnĕst` sôlvā`), 1838–1922, Belgian industrial chemist and philanthropist. He originated the Solvay processSolvay process
[for Ernest Solvay], commercial process for the manufacture of sodium carbonate (washing soda). Ammonia and carbon dioxide are passed into a saturated sodium chloride solution to form soluble ammonium hydrogen carbonate, which reacts with the sodium chloride to
..... Click the link for more information. and established (1863) near Charleroi, Belgium, the first plant for making soda by this process; later, plants were set up in many countries. He founded at Brussels the Solvay institutes of physiology (1893) and sociology (1901) and made large gifts to European universities.