Awards to E. Iglesia, M. Davis, W. Goodman, and I. Wachs

Enrique Igle­sia has received the 2005 George A. Olah Award in Hydro­car­bon Chem­istry from the Amer­i­can Chem­i­cal Soci­ety. It will be pre­sented at the 2005 ACS Meet­ing in San Diego in March 2005. The award is given to rec­og­nize, encour­age, and stim­u­late out­stand­ing research achieve­ments in hydro­car­bon or petro­leum chem­istry. The recip­i­ent must have accom­plished out­stand­ing research in the chem­istry of hydro­car­bons or of petro­leum and its prod­ucts. Spe­cial con­sid­er­a­tion will be given to the inde­pen­dence of thought and the orig­i­nal­ity shown. Enrique Igle­sia has brought together mech­a­nis­tic insights into sur­face reac­tions with detailed atomic-scale char­ac­ter­i­za­tion of inor­ganic solids to design advanced mate­ri­als for cat­alytic hydro­car­bon conversions.

Mark Davis of Cal­tech has receieved the E. V. Mur­phree Award in Indus­trial and Engi­neer­ing Chem­istry spon­sored by Exxon­Mo­bil Research and Engi­neer­ing Com­pany and Exxon­Mo­bil Chem­i­cal Com­pany. This award is given to stim­u­late fun­da­men­tal research in indus­trial and engi­neer­ing chem­istry, the devel­op­ment of chem­i­cal engi­neer­ing prin­ci­ples and their appli­ca­tion to indus­trial processes.

D. Wayne Good­man, Texas A&M Uni­ver­sity will receive the 2005 Gabor A. Somor­jai Award for Cre­ative Research in Catal­y­sis spon­sored by the Gabor A. and Judith K. Somor­jai Endow­ment Fund. The award is to rec­og­nize out­stand­ing the­o­ret­i­cal, exper­i­men­tal, or devel­op­men­tal research result­ing in the advance­ment of under­stand­ing or appli­ca­tion of catalysis.

Israel Wachs of Lehigh Uni­ver­sity was one of two sci­en­tists selected by the ACS Divi­sion of Col­loid & Sur­face Chem­istry as win­ners of its 2004 Lang­muir Lec­ture Awards. Israel has worked on the sur­face sci­ence of sup­ported metal oxide cat­a­lysts, where an active 2-D sur­face metal oxide is dis­persed on an oxide sup­port sub­strate. He spoke on solid-vacuum or solid-gas inter­faces at the recent Philadel­phia ACS meet­ing in August 2004.

ORCS announces 3 awards in catalysis

At their 20th ORCS meet­ing in Hilton Head, South Car­olina, the Organic Reac­tions Catal­y­sis Soci­ety pre­sented the fol­low­ing awards:

2003 Paul N. Rylan­der Award was pre­sented to Donna G. Black­mond of Impe­r­ial Col­lege, Lon­don, in part for her kinetic analy­sis and mod­el­ing of cat­alytic and asym­met­ric cat­alytic reactions.

2004 Paul N. Rylan­der Award was pre­sented to Richard C. Larock of Iowa State Uni­veristy, Ames, Iowa, as a pio­neer in the use of pal­la­dium in organic syn­the­sis, includ­ing the dis­cov­ery of a range of new method­olo­gies involv­ing aryl, allylic, and vinylic pal­la­dium inter­me­di­ates used to syn­the­size a broad range of organic compounds.

2004 Mur­ray Raney Award to Jean Lessard of the Uni­ver­siy of Sher­brooke, Que­bec, Canada for his pio­neer­ing efforts in elec­tro­cat­alytic elec­trodes, espe­cially for a more durable and struc­turally sta­ble Raney-type electrode.

Professor Douglas Stephan– 2004 Ciapetta Lecturer

The 2004 F. G. Cia­petta Lec­ture­ship is awarded to Pro­fes­sor Dou­glas Stephan of the Depart­ment of Chem­istry & Bio­chem­istry, Uni­ver­sity of Wind­sor, Wind­sor, Ontario, Canada. The F.G. Cia­petta Lec­ture­ship in Catal­y­sis is cospon­sored by Davi­son Cat­a­lyst, a busi­ness unit of W. R. Grace & Co and The North Amer­i­can Catal­y­sis Soci­ety. 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. The Award con­sists of a plaque, an hon­o­rar­ium and addi­tional money is avail­able to cover trav­el­ing expenses to visit the local clubs. Local clubs should con­tact Pro­fes­sor Stephan directly to make travel arrangements.

Pro­fes­sor Stephan received his Ph.D. in Inor­ganic Chem­istry from the Uni­ver­sity of West­ern Ontario. He under­took a NATO Post­doc­toral Fel­low in Chem­istry at Har­vard Uni­ver­sity before mov­ing to the Uni­ver­sity of Wind­sor where he has spent his career doing research. Doug Stephan’s research group has been active for over 20 years in study­ing the fun­da­men­tal organometal­lic chem­istry of early tran­si­tion met­als. He has received many dis­tinc­tions and hon­ors for his accu­mu­lated accom­plish­ments dur­ing the course of his stud­ies, but it was his recent suc­cess in devel­op­ing a novel set of cat­a­lysts for poly­mer­iz­ing eth­yl­ene that have earned Doug Stephan many acco­lades both in indus­trial cir­cles and among his aca­d­e­mic peers. This devel­op­ment is expected to have a major impact on the Cana­dian petro­chem­i­cals indus­try, which is a sig­nif­i­cant part of the man­u­fac­tur­ing capa­bil­ity in this coun­try. Stephan’s inno­v­a­tive approach to ancil­lary lig­and design quickly led to dra­matic find­ings of new patentable cat­a­lysts that were highly active under indus­trial con­di­tions. NOVA Chem­i­cals’ goal of devel­op­ing new sin­gle site cat­a­lyst tech­nolo­gies was sig­nif­i­cantly advanced with the dis­cov­er­ies of poten­tial new cat­a­lyst com­pounds from the Stephan labs. In col­lab­o­ra­tion with a team of chemists and engi­neers at NOVA Chem­i­cals Stephan’s team worked to explore and develop these new cat­a­lyst fam­i­lies towards com­mer­cial­iza­tion. Stephan and his group have con­tin­ued to study the structure-reactivity rela­tion­ship of these single-site cat­a­lysts. In addi­tion, Stephan’s group has dis­cov­ered and stud­ied a num­ber of unusual deac­ti­va­tion path­ways that these new cat­a­lysts exhibit allow­ing opti­miza­tion of process con­di­tions. More recently, Stephan’s group has been study­ing mod­i­fied sys­tems that exhibit liv­ing cat­a­lyst behav­ior and their use in the for­ma­tion of co– and block poly­mers. His new efforts are focused on devel­op­ing new co-catalysts as well as strate­gies to late tran­si­tion metal catalysts.

Israel Wachs wins AIChE Award

Pro­fes­sor Israel E. Wachs of the Chem­i­cal Engi­neer­ing Depart­ment of Lehigh Uni­ver­sity is this year’s recip­i­ent of the Amer­i­can Insti­tute of Chem­i­cal Engi­neers’ (AIChE) Catal­y­sis and Reac­tion Engi­neer­ing Divi­sion Prac­tice Award, which will be pre­sented at the Annual AIChE meet­ing in San Fran­cisco the week of Novem­ber 16–21, 2003. The AIChE C&RE Prac­tice Award rec­og­nizes indi­vid­u­als who have made pio­neer­ing con­tri­bu­tions to indus­trial prac­tice of catal­y­sis and chem­i­cal reac­tion engi­neer­ing and is spon­sored by Merck & Com­pany, Inc.

Pro­fes­sor Wachs is being rec­og­nized for his com­mer­cial devel­op­ments of novel cat­a­lysts and reac­tion engi­neer­ing appli­ca­tions in the areas of:

  1. o-xylene oxi­da­tion to phthalic anhy­dride over sup­ported promoted-V2O5/TiO2 catalysts.
  2. Methanol oxi­da­tion to formalde­hyde over bulk metal oxide catalysts.
  3. A new envi­ron­men­tal cat­alytic process that con­verts unde­sir­able waste gases from pulp mills to valu­able chem­i­cals (H2CO, H2SO4, ter­penes) and simul­ta­ne­ously elim­i­nates sig­nif­i­cant pol­lut­ing emis­sions of VOCs, NOx, SOx and CO2.

Enrique Iglesia wins Wilhelm Award

Pro­fes­sor Enrique Igle­sia of the Uni­ver­sity of Cal­i­for­nia at Berke­ley has received the 2003 R.H. Wil­helm Award in Chem­i­cal Reac­tion Engi­neer­ing from the AIChE. This award is spon­sored by Exxon­Mo­bil Research & Engi­neer­ing Com­pany and rec­og­nizes an individual’s sig­nif­i­cant and new con­tri­bu­tion in chem­i­cal reac­tion engi­neer­ing. As a mem­ber of the AIChE, the recip­i­ent is expected to have advanced the fron­tiers of chem­i­cal reac­tion engi­neer­ing through orig­i­nal­ity, cre­ativ­ity, and nov­elty of con­cept or application.

Stu Soled wins Excellence in Catalysis Award from NY Club

The Catal­y­sis Soci­ety of Met­ro­pol­i­tan New York is pleased to announce the Excel­lence in Catal­y­sis Award for 2003, to Dr. Stu­art L. Soled

This award rec­og­nizes Dr. Soled’s con­tri­bu­tions in the areas of mate­ri­als syn­the­sis and catal­y­sis research cul­mi­nat­ing in the devel­op­ment of the now com­mer­cial Neb­ula fam­ily of cat­a­lysts for the envi­ron­men­tally impor­tant pro­duc­tion of ultralow sul­fur diesel fuel. In addi­tion, Dr. Soled has made sig­nif­i­cant con­tri­bu­tions to Exxon’s AGC-21 process for the syn­the­sis of liq­uid fuels from nat­ural gas.

Alex Bell awarded 2003 Robert Burwell Lectureship in Catalysis

Pro­fes­sor Alexis T. Bell has been awarded the 2003 Robert Bur­well Lec­ture­ship in Catal­y­sis by the North Amer­i­can Catal­y­sis Soci­ety. The Lec­ture­ship is spon­sored by John­son Matthey PLC’s Cat­a­lysts and Chem­i­cals Divi­sion and 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. His research activ­i­ties have led to more than 400 pub­li­ca­tions in the most pres­ti­gious jour­nals in catal­y­sis, chem­istry and chem­i­cal engi­neer­ing. Over many years he has applied cutting-edge spec­troscopy and the­ory to study sur­faces before and after cat­alytic reactions.

His nom­i­na­tors offered some of the fol­low­ing remarks. His ear­lier work with Pro­fes­sor Doros Theodorou pio­neered the appli­ca­tion of sta­tis­ti­cal mechan­ics and mol­e­c­u­lar dynam­ics for pre­dict­ing the adsorp­tion and dif­fu­sion of mol­e­cules in zeo­lites. This rep­re­sented one of the first quan­ti­ta­tive appli­ca­tions of the­o­ret­i­cal meth­ods to sys­tems of direct cat­alytic rel­e­vance. Later his work with Pro­fes­sor Arup Chakraborty suc­ceeded in using quan­tum mechan­i­cal cal­cu­la­tions to deter­mine the sit­ing and sta­bil­ity of metal cations exchanged into zeo­lites. In the area of Fischer-Tropsch syn­the­sis, his ele­gant use of in situ infrared meth­ods, sur­face sci­ence tech­niques, and iso­topic switch meth­ods led to a mech­a­nis­tic pic­ture of “unprece­dented clar­ity and rel­e­vance.” Rate con­stants for ele­men­tary steps and the iden­tity and reac­tiv­ity of spe­cific adsorbed inter­me­di­ates were mea­sured and ulti­mately used to elu­ci­date the under­ly­ing structure-function rela­tions for chain growth as well as the oper­a­tive basis for widely reported strong meta-supported inter­ac­tions. His stud­ies have led to demon­stra­tion of a novel bifunc­tional mech­a­nism for methanol syn­the­sis and leads to strong effects of Lewis acid­ity and basic­ity of ZrO2 on activ­ity and selec­tiv­ity. He has also made sig­nif­i­cant con­tri­bu­tions in the area of zeo­lite catal­y­sis by elu­ci­dat­ing the mech­a­nism of both the syn­the­sis and func­tion of these het­ero­ge­neous catalysts.

Together with Pro­fes­sor Clay Radke, the appli­ca­tion of NMR meth­ods led to the direct obser­va­tion of the structure-directing role of organic and inor­ganic cations dur­ing syn­the­sis and to a clear mech­a­nis­tic pic­ture of their self-assembly in com­plex solu­tions and gels. A com­bi­na­tion of kinetic, infrared, iso­topic and the­o­ret­i­cal stud­ies also led to a clearer mech­a­nis­tic and struc­tural pic­ture of the nature of exchanged cations in zeo­lites and their involve­ment in form­ing and sta­bi­liz­ing reac­tive inter­me­di­ates in the reduc­tion of NO by hydro­car­bons. In the area of metal oxides, Alex pio­neered the use of Raman spec­troscopy for the struc­tural char­ac­ter­i­za­tion of dis­persed struc­tures. His appli­ca­tions of these meth­ods to the char­ac­ter­i­za­tion of oxida­tive dehy­dro­gena­tion cat­a­lysts led to spe­cific assign­ments of site reac­tiv­ity and to a com­pre­hen­sive pic­ture of the mech­a­nism and site require­ments for desired and unde­sired reac­tions of alka­nes on dis­persed oxides. More recently, work­ing in col­lab­o­ra­tion with Pro­fes­sor Enrique Igle­sia, he has also explored the use of in situ UV-visible and X-ray absorp­tion spec­troscopy in mea­sur­ing the num­ber of active sites and reduced cen­ters dur­ing alkane oxi­da­tion reac­tions. Through­out all this work, Alex has repeat­edly demon­strated a nat­ural tal­ent that allows him to trans­late his research on cat­alytic phe­nom­ena, cat­alytic reac­tion mech­a­nisms, and the iden­ti­fi­ca­tion and descrip­tion of cat­alytic sites for a wide range of chemistries into under­stand­able terms for his audience.

The lec­ture­ship comes with an hon­o­rar­ium and travel stipend that will allow him to visit many of the local clubs of the North Amer­i­can Catal­y­sis Soci­ety in order to stim­u­late both young and old minds to the mar­vels of catal­y­sis.
John N. Armor

Houdry Award to Avelino Corma

The 2003 Eugene J. Houdry Award in Applied Catal­y­sis to Pro­fes­sor Avelino Corma Canos of the Tech­ni­cal Uni­ver­sity of Valen­cia, Spain. The award is spon­sored by Süd-Chemie, Inc. The pur­pose of the Award is to rec­og­nize and encour­age indi­vid­ual con­tri­bu­tions in the field of catal­y­sis with empha­sis on the devel­op­ment of new and improved cat­a­lysts and processes rep­re­sent­ing out­stand­ing advances in their use­ful application.

Pro­fes­sor Corma is widely rec­og­nized as a pro­lific and ver­sa­tile con­trib­u­tor to the sci­ence and tech­nol­ogy of het­ero­ge­neous catal­y­sis. In par­tic­u­lar, he has par­tic­i­pated in the dis­cov­ery of new cat­a­lysts for the iso­mer­iza­tion of light, straight-run naph­tha now in com­mer­cial use, oth­ers for bot­toms upgrad­ing in FCC units, a cat­a­lyst for a com­mer­cial process for the selec­tive epox­i­da­tion of propy­lene, the devel­op­ment of weakly basic solid cat­a­lysts for selec­tive iso­mer­iza­tion of alpha olefins, and the com­mer­cial­iza­tion of cat­a­lysts for the iso­mer­iza­tion of beta pinene. His nom­i­na­tors com­mented: a set of cat­a­lyst com­po­si­tions dis­closed in a patent for the iso­mer­iza­tion of light, straight-run naph­tha (US #5,057,471) is in cur­rent use in ten com­mer­cial units. These cat­a­lysts are based on H-mordenite mate­ri­als with very low alu­minum con­tent and they show unprece­dented sul­fur resis­tance. His group is also cred­ited with the dis­cov­ery and use of Al-containing sepi­o­lite mate­ri­als as addi­tives for bot­toms upgrad­ing in FCC units. Fol­low­ing suc­cess­ful scale-up activ­i­ties, these cat­a­lysts are in cur­rent use in at least one FCC refin­ery unit.

A col­lab­o­ra­tion between the Corma group and Sum­it­omo Cor­po­ra­tion has led to a com­mer­cial process for the selec­tive epox­i­da­tion of propy­lene to propy­lene oxide using cumene hydroper­ox­ide. The use of a zeolitic mate­r­ial with large pores and a Si-O-Ti frame­work leads to unprece­dented selec­tiv­ity and sta­bil­ity. A com­mer­cial reac­tor using this tech­nol­ogy is cur­rently in start-up in Japan.

A joint project with Tagasako Cor­po­ra­tion and Acedesa led to the com­mer­cial­iza­tion of het­ero­ge­neous cat­a­lysts for the iso­mer­iza­tion of beta pinene to alpha pinene, as part of an over­all process for the syn­the­sis of a fam­ily of sandalwood-type fra­grances.
Pro­fes­sor Corma’s group has also pio­neered the use of auto­mated micro-activity test units, whose design was patented and licensed, and about 30 of these units have been placed in service.

Emmett Award to Francisco Zaera

The Paul H. Emmett Award in Fun­da­men­tal Catal­y­sis to Pro­fes­sor Fran­cisco Zaera of the Uni­ver­sity of Cal­i­for­nia at River­side, USA. The award is spon­sored by the Davi­son Chem­i­cal Divi­sion of W.R. Grace and Com­pany. The Award is intended to rec­og­nize and encour­age indi­vid­ual con­tri­bu­tions (under the age of 45) in the field of catal­y­sis with empha­sis on dis­cov­ery and under­stand­ing of cat­alytic phe­nom­ena, pro­posal of cat­alytic reac­tion mech­a­nisms and iden­ti­fi­ca­tion of and descrip­tion of cat­alytic sites and species.

Pro­fes­sor Zaera’s main inter­ests lie with the study of mech­a­nisms of sur­face reac­tions by using mod­ern surface-sensitive tech­niques. He is noted for bridg­ing the knowl­edge on sur­face reac­tions with that of organometal­lic sys­tems and for his exten­sion of kinetic the­o­ries to reac­tions on sur­faces. His nom­i­na­tors com­mented that he has placed par­tic­u­lar empha­sis on mak­ing a con­nec­tion between the atomic details of sur­face reac­tions and het­ero­ge­neous cat­alytic processes. While most sur­face kinetic con­cepts have been rec­og­nized for some time, Fran­cisco is cred­ited with quan­ti­fy­ing the kinetic con­se­quences of these effects by a vari­ety of sur­face sci­ence tech­niques to ratio­nal­ize the rates observed in model sys­tems and cor­re­late them with prac­ti­cal het­ero­ge­neous catal­y­sis rates.

He has been given credit for unequiv­o­cally estab­lish­ing that most hydro­car­bon pro­cess­ing cat­a­lysts are cov­ered with a car­bona­ceous layer dur­ing the cat­alytic process. By per­form­ing iso­tope label­ing exper­i­ments and using vibra­tional spec­troscopy and mol­e­c­u­lar beam stud­ies, Pro­fes­sor Zaera deter­mined that those deposits are not direct inter­me­di­ates in hydrogenation-dehydrogenation steps, but rather an play an indi­rect role by tem­per­ing the high activ­ity of the metal sur­faces and pro­vid­ing a reser­voir for the sur­face hydro­gen. He is also cred­ited with estab­lish­ing the promi­nence of hydride and reduc­tive elim­i­na­tion steps as the main con­ver­sion path­ways for alkyl frag­ments on tran­si­tion met­als. He has also shown how spe­cific small changes in rel­a­tive rates among com­pet­ing reac­tions can account for vast dif­fer­ences in selec­tiv­ity observed among some Group VIII metal centers.

Canadian Catalysis Awards to W. Piers and H. Kung

The Catal­y­sis Divi­sion of the Chem­i­cal Insti­tute of Canada announced that Pro­fes­sor War­ren Piers, Depart­ment of Chem­istry, Uni­ver­sity of Cal­gary has been awarded the 2002 Cana­dian Catal­y­sis Lec­ture­ship Award. Pro­fes­sor Piers is noted for his work in syn­thetic organometal­lic chem­istry, includ­ing the devel­op­ment of new olefin poly­mer­iza­tion cat­a­lysts and co-catalysts, and the devel­op­ment of new cat­alytic processes using early tran­si­tion metal organometal­lic compounds.

In addi­tion, Pro­fes­sor Harold Kung, Depart­ment of Chem­i­cal Engi­neer­ing, North­west­ern Uni­ver­sity (Evanstown, Ill) has been awarded the 2002 Cross-Canada Catal­y­sis Lec­ture­ship Award. Pro­fes­sor Kung is rec­og­nized for his work in the selec­tive oxi­da­tion of light alka­nes, NOx reduc­tion in an oxi­diz­ing atmos­phere, sup­ported Au catal­y­sis and hydro­car­bon crack­ing over acidic zeolites.