International Precious Metals Institute Henry J. Albert Award to Professor Fabio Ribeiro

Professor Fabio Ribeiro of the Department of Chemical Engineering at Purdue University has been named the recipient of the 2012 International Precious Metals Institute Henry J. Albert Award, sponsored by BASF Corporation, in recognition of his outstanding theoretical and experimental contributions to the science and technology of precious metals. His research group combines measurements on realistic dispersed clusters and flat model systems with precision and reliability at the state-of-the-art. He has provided the kinetic data set for water-gas shift that represents the standard used by others in benchmarking of other materials and of theoretical estimates. This work has also demonstrated the strong effects of supports in the activation of water in water-gas shift and that all exposed surface atoms are active on Pt clusters but only corner atoms with low coordination are active on Au clusters. His seminal studies of NOx reactions have unveiled the mechanism of NO oxidation and provided elegant examples of the use of spectroscopic and kinetic tools in unraveling the complex pathways in NOx trapping on Ba-promoted Pt/alumina systems. His group continues to expand the experimental frontiers with recent developments X-ray absorption spectroscopy during catalysis at high pressures in liquid and gaseous media, with infrared analysis of adsorbed species during isotopic transients, and with state-of-the-art environmental transmission electron microscopy. These successes build on his earlier studies of Pd catalysts which defined the reaction pathways involved in catalytic combustion of methane and in catalytic hydrodechlorination of a wide range of hydrochlorofluorocarbon molecules.


John Armor is the recipient of the 2012 NACS Award for Distinguished Service in the Advancement of Catalysis

John Armor

Dr. John N. Armor has been selected as the recipient of the 2012 NACS Award for Distinguished Service in the Advancement of Catalysis. The Award is presented every two years to recognize an individual who has advanced catalytic chemistry or engineering through both significant service to the catalysis community and outstanding technical accomplishments. This award includes an honorarium ($5,000) and a plaque. It is awarded by the North American Catalysis Society and sponsored by ExxonMobil and Clariant and will be presented during the 2013 NAM in Louisville.

This award recognizes Dr. Armor’s dedication to the catalysis community through his leadership in the North American Catalysis Society, the New York Academy of Sciences, and the American Chemical Society and in the organization of international symposia and conferences. He has served the North America Catalysis Society as President and Treasurer for more than two decades and during his tenure strengthened the financial and technical underpinnings of the Society, the quality and rigor or its meetings, and the scope and reach of its educational activities. He has brought enhanced recognition to members of the Society and a brighter future to the discipline through his articulate advocacy of catalysis and his leadership in strengthening the involvement of students and young practitioners in the activities of the Society.

Dr. Armor has served the community well as a teacher and as a visionary leader, while contributing as an independent scientist and a successful mentor and research manager in industrial settings. His technical contributions have been recognized with the Eugene J. Houdry Award of the North American Catalysis Society and with the E. V. Murphree Award of the American Chemical Society. He has served as Editor of Applied Catalysis and CatTech and has served on the editorial board of the leading journal in catalysis. He has authored many comprehensive reviews of catalytic technologies, often with insightful historical perspectives and always with a clear strategic vision.


Dr. Stuart Soled is the Winner of the 2012 Herman Pines Award in Catalysis

Stuart Soled

The Catalysis Club of Chicago is pleased to announce that Dr. Stuart L. Soled (ExxonMobil Research and Engineering Co.) is the recipient of the 2012 Herman Pines Award in Catalysis. This Award is given to recognize Dr. Soled’s outstanding contributions to the synthesis, structural and functional characterization, and commercialization of novel catalytic materials. Stu’s research has led to the discovery and successful development and commercialization of several catalyst technologies, including nanostructured metal oxide/metal sulfide bul

  • k hydroprocessing catalysts for the production of ultralow sulfur diesel, dispersed metal oxides/sulfides for the production of clean and high octane gasoline, supported metals catalysts for potential applications in chemical intermediates synthesis and synfuels, and solid acids catalysts.

    Stu has served on the editorial boards of leading catalysis journals and as chairs for catalysis conferences. He is an excellent teacher mentoring the next generation of distinguished scientists and technical staff. Stu has been invited to give lectures on national and international scientific meetings. He has published 100 patents and over 70 publications.

    The award includes an honorarium ($1,000) and a plaque. Dr. Soled will receive this Award during the Catalysis Club of Chicago Spring Symposium on May 15, 2012 at BP Research Center (Naperville, IL). Dr. Soled will deliver the Award address at the Symposium.

    Past recipients of the Herman Pines Award

    • 1999 Harold Kung, Northwestern University
    • 2000 John Monnier, Eastman Chemical
    • 2001 Lanny Schmidt, University of Minnesota
    • 2002 James Brazdil, BP
    • 2003 James Dumesic, University of Wisconsin
    • 2004 Alak Bhattacharyya, BP
    • 2005 Israel Wachs, Lehigh University
    • 2006 Jeffrey Miller, BP
    • 2007 Chunshan Song, Pennsylvania State University
    • 2008 Aleksey Yezerets, Cummins
    • 2009 Tobin Marks, Northwestern University
    • 2010 James Rekoske, UOP
    • 2011 Jingguang Chen, University Delaware
  • Mobil Research Team Inducted into the New Jersey Inventors Hall of Fame

    Mobil research team, Clarence Chang, Dr. Anthony Silvestri and William Lang, were charged with doing exploratory research to open new frontiers in fuel and petrochemical technology. In 1972, while conducting an investigation of the reaction pathways of polar organic compounds on acidic zeolites, the key experiment was conceived that led to the discovery of the conversion of methanol to hydrocarbons, including gasoline-range, high-octane aromatics, over the synthetic zeolite ZSM-5.

    This discovery became the basis of the Mobil Methanol-to-Gasoline (MTG) Process, the first synfuel process to be commercialized in 50 years, and sparked worldwide interest and research that continues to this day. In 1985, it was commercialized in New Zealand as the Gas-to-Gasoline Process, in response to the Arab Oil Embargo and the ensuing energy crisis. The process operated successfully for a decade before being suspended due to the end of the energy crisis and declining crude oil prices. However, because methanol can be made from any gasifiable carbonaceous material, such as coal and biomass, the MTG process may again play a vital role in a future of dwindling oil and gas resources.

    This patent and associated patents revealed a new way to manufacture gasoline, bringing greater security and self-sufficiency to gasoline-reliant consumers, nations and the world at large. A graduate of Harvard, Clarence D. Chang is the author of over 60 papers and encyclopedia chapters, as well as a book, Hydrocarbons from Methanol. For his discovery, he was awarded the American Chemical Society 1992 E.V. Murphree Award and the North American Catalysis Society 1999 Eugene J. Houdry Award among other honors. He holds over 220 U.S. patents.

    Dr. Silvestri authored or co-authored about 60 papers. In recognition of his professional accomplishments, Dr. Silvestri received the New York Catalysis Society Award for Excellence in Catalysis in 1984 and was named a Penn State Alumni Fellow in 1995. He holds 28 U.S. patents.
    Contributed by Clarence D. Chang, Anthony J. Silvestri and William H. Lang
    Mobil Central Research

    Engelhard Scientists Honored For Auto-Emission Technology Breakthrough

    ISELIN, NJ, November 11, 2004— Local Engelhard scientists who invented a novel technology that enables automakers to cost effectively comply with increasingly stringent engine-emission standards, are recipients of a 2004 Thomas Alva Edison Patent Award.

    The Research & Development Council of New Jersey presented Harold Rabinowitz, Ron Heck and Zhicheng Hu with the award which recognizes dedication to research and development that leads to truly innovative breakthroughs.

    Rabinowitz, Heck and Hu were honored at the R&D Council’s annual awards dinner on November 11, 2004 at New Jersey’s Liberty Science Center.

    “This invention is one of the critical enablers for a substantial increase in the efficiency of catalytic emission control without a significant increase in cost,” said Mikhail Rodkin, director of research and development, Environmental Technologies. “It’s also a good example of the ingenuity of Engelhard scientists in the face of a formidable technical challenge and market pressures.”

    In the early 1990s, auto-emission systems typically contained two catalysts located under the vehicle floor away from the engine. Placing the catalysts there protected them from the extreme heat of engine exhaust gases, but led to a long warm-up time and high “cold-start” emissions (those during the first two minutes following ignition). To compensate for low catalytic activity at low temperatures, the catalysts had to contain significant amounts of precious metals, typically platinum and rhodium. The three Engelhard scientists invented a close-coupled catalyst system that changed this paradigm.

    The essence of the discovery made by Rabinowitz, Heck and Hu was to employ a palladium catalyst with substantially no additional oxygen storage component in the first close-coupled position, followed by downstream catalyst that includes an oxygen storage component. This enabled the use of the more thermally stable and lower-cost palladium in the close-coupled catalyst without adversely affecting catalytic activity.

    To date, close-coupled catalysts have been installed on an estimated 10 million vehicles worldwide. Their use has enabled many SUVs to have emissions comparable to those from automobiles.

    Thomas Degnan named the 2012 F.G. Ciapetta Lecturer

    I am pleased to announce that Dr. Thomas Degnan of ExxonMobil Research and Engineering is the recipient of the F.G. Ciapetta Lectureship in Catalysis, sponsored by the Grace Davison operating segment of W.R. Grace & Co. and the North American Catalysis Society. The Award consists of a plaque and an honorarium. The plaque will be presented during the closing banquet ceremonies at the 2013 NAM in Louisville, KY. The recipient will present lectures at most of the affiliated Clubs/Societies during the two-year period covered by this Lectureship.

    The Award is given in recognition of substantial contributions to one or more areas in the field of catalysis with emphasis on industrially significant catalysts and catalytic processes and the discovery of new catalytic reactions and systems of potential industrial importance.

    Tom Degnan is an internationally-recognized leader in the chemistry and applications of zeolite catalysis. Through his publications and numerous lectures, he has provided many examples of the value of fundamental scientific concepts in the practical deployment of catalytic processes. His record of scholarship stands alongside a remarkable list of more than 100 U.S. patents and his unique blend of creativity, leadership, and clarity of thought has made him not only a leading industrial inventor, but also an ambassador of industrial catalysis research in our community at large.

    Tom is specifically recognized with the F. G. Ciapetta Lectureship for his contributions to the discovery, development, and commercialization of molecular sieves as catalysts and for his key role in developing their applications as catalysts in important large-scale industrial processes. Throughout his industrial career, he has made seminal contributions to the discovery and commercialization of more than ten catalytic processes for the production of high-performance lubricants, clean fuels, and petrochemicals. He led a research group that discovered how active sites at zeolite crystal surfaces show unique properties in the alkylation of aromatics and coined the term “surface pocket” catalysis to describe these inorganic enzyme-like catalytic structures. His fundamental studies of paraffin isomerization on bifunctional shape-selective catalysts demonstrated the essential interplay between diffusion and reaction processes and led to the discovery of several new catalysts for the synthesis of high-quality fuels and lubricants. His research vision and management leadership also led to catalytic processes with unprecedented selectivity for the production of p-xylenes.

    I am delighted that the North American Catalysis Society has chosen to recognize the contributions of Dr. Thomas Degnan with this lectureship. I speak with the voice of our grateful community in also thanking the management of W.R. Grace& Co. for its continuing support of this lectureship.
    Enrique Iglesia
    President, North American Catalysis Society

    American Chemical Society National Awards for 2012

    The North American Catalysis Society congratulates three of our members that have been recognized with significant American Chemical Society National Awards for 2012. The award recipients are Dr. Thomas F. Degnan Jr, ExxonMobil, Professor James A. Dumesic University of Wisconsin, Madison, and Professor Enrique Iglesia, University of California, Berkeley. Dr. Degnan has been named as winner of the 2012 ACS Award in Industrial Chemistry sponsored by the ACS Division of Business Development & Management and the ACS Division of Industrial and Engineering Chemistry. Professor Dumesic has been named winner of the 2012 George A. Olah Award in Hydrocarbon or Petroleum Chemistry sponsored by the George A. Olah Award Endowment. Professor Iglesia has been named winner of the 2012 Gabor A. Somorjai Award for Creative Research in Catalysis sponsored by the Gabor A. and Judith K. Somorjai Endowment Fund. All three recipients will be honored at an Awards Ceremony on March 27, 2012 held in conjunction with the 243rd ACS National Meeting in San Diego, CA.
    Bruce Cook
    Vice President, North American Catalysis Society

    Professor Johannes Lercher named the 2011 Burwell Lecturer

    I am pleased to announce that Professor Johannes A. Lercher of the Technical University of Munich is the recipient of the 2011 Robert Burwell Lectureship in Catalysis of the North American Catalysis Society, sponsored by Johnson Matthey and administered by The North American Catalysis Society. It is to be awarded biennially in odd-numbered years. The award consists of a plaque and an honorarium of $5,000. The plaque will be presented during the closing banquet ceremonies at the 2011 North American Meeting of the Catalysis Society.An additional $4,500 is available to cover travelling expenses in North America. Professor Lercher will present lectures at the local catalysis clubs and societies during the two-year period covered by this award.

    The Robert Burwell Lectureship in Catalysis is given in recognition of substantial contributions to one or more areas in the field of catalysis with emphasis on discovery and understanding of catalytic phenomena, catalytic reaction mechanisms and identification and description of catalytic sites and species.

    Professor Lercher is being recognized for his ground-breaking contributions to our understanding of the interactions and transformations of molecules on solid catalysts through elegant combinations of physicochemical and kinetic analyses. His studies of the elementary in molecular transport through porous media and the resulting insights into the design of solids to manipulate these steps have led to a successful synthesis of hierarchic materials able to discriminate molecules on the basis of the volume defined by their rotation in the gas space. His studies of the into the structure and thermodynamic properties of hydrocarbons adsorbed within zeolite voids and on polar surfaces led to efficient catalysts for the selective activation of organic molecules. The concepts and learnings developed have stimulated significant experimental and theoretical studies in these areas and the development of novel catalytic chemistries for alkane activation. These chemistries include the functionalization of methane to methyl chloride on chloride surfaces, the oxidative dehydrogenation of ethane to ethene on supported molten chlorides, the stable and selective alkylation of isobutane with linear butenes on acidic zeolites, and the activation and cracking of branched alkanes by zeolites containing accessible lanthanum cations at ambient temperatures.
    Enrique Iglesia

    President, North American Catalysis Society

    Professor James A. Dumesic is the recipient of the 2011 Boudart Award in Catalysis

    We are pleased to announce that Professor James A. Dumesic of the University of Wisconsin-Madison is the recipient of the 2011 Michel Boudart for Advances in Catalysis, sponsored by the Haldor Topsøe Company and administered jointly by the North American Catalysis Society and the European Federation of Catalysis Societies. The Award will be presented at the 22nd North American Meeting of the Catalysis Society (Detroit, June 2011) and at Europacat X (Glasgow, August 2011).

    This Award recognizes and encourages individual contributions to the elucidation of the mechanism and active sites involved in catalytic phenomena and to the development of new methods or concepts that advance the understanding and the practice of heterogeneous catalysis. It is meant to recognize individuals who bring together the rigor and the international impact that exemplifies the accomplishments and the career of Professor Michel Boudart.

    Professor Dumesic is being specifically recognized for his pioneering work on the transformation of biomass-derived molecules to chemicals and fuels. In a combination of discovery and refinement, driven by catalytic insight that is his hallmark, Dumesic and his coworkers used thermodynamic and kinetic considerations, combined with catalyst optimization to develop a one-step aqueous phase reforming route from sugars and other biomass-derived oxygenates to hydrogen and/or alkanes. The work was guided by mechanistic insights about the relative rates of C-C cleavage, leading to the formation of H2 and CO/CO2, and C-O cleavage, which forms alkyl moieties, and led to the optimization of aqueous phase reforming for either H2 or alkane products. His studies elucidated catalysts and reaction conditions for polyol reforming that favor C-C cleavage with minimal water-gas shift, thereby allowing glycerol reforming and Fischer-Tropsch synthesis to occur within a single reactor. These discoveries were quickly followed by two new and innovative catalytic conversion processes. One approach employs a cascade of reactors, each designed to sequentially attack specific functional groups; these reactions remove oxygen, achieve carbon-carbon bond synthesis, and steer the final upgrading steps towards the desired fuel molecules. These studies have shown how metal functions, moderated by another metal, can convert sugars and polyols to mono-functional intermediates, such as ketones, alcohols, and carboxylic acids, by balancing the rates of C-C and C-O cleavage. This approach led to strategies to form new C-C bonds via coupling of these mono-functional intermediates to adjust chain length, as in the case of ketonization catalysis of carboxylic acids on mixed oxides and subsequent aldol-condensation to react ketones and alcohols on solid bases. Another novel approach involved γ-gamma-valerolactone decarboxylation to butene and its oligomers and, in related work, the use of metal-acid bifunctional catalysts to convert valerolactone to C9 ketones by coupling ring-opening and C=C bond hydrogenation with the ketonization of resulting pentanoic acid.

    This body of work has redefined the frontiers of fundamental catalysis while simultaneously addressing the critical worldwide needs for renewable energy sources and epitomizes the confluence of elegance and relevance in catalysis that the Boudart Award intends to recognize.
    Enrique Iglesia
    President, North American Catalysis Society
    Avelino Corma Canos
    President, European Federation of Catalysis Societies