Bruce Gates is the recipient of the 2017 Michel Boudart Award for Advances in Catalysis

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We are pleased to announce that Pro­fes­sor Bruce Gates of the Uni­ver­sity of Cal­i­for­nia at Davis is the recip­i­ent of the 2017 Michel Boudart Award for Advances in Catal­y­sis. This award is spon­sored by the Hal­dor Top­søe Com­pany and is admin­is­tered jointly by the North Amer­i­can Catal­y­sis Soci­ety and the Euro­pean Fed­er­a­tion of Catal­y­sis Soci­eties. The pre­sen­ta­tion to Pro­fes­sor Gates will be made at both the 25th North Amer­i­can Meet­ing of the Catal­y­sis Soci­ety (Den­ver, June 2017) and the Europacat XIII Meet­ing (Flo­rence, Italy, August 2017).

The Michel Boudart 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 rec­og­nizes indi­vid­u­als who bring together the rigor and the inter­na­tional impact that exem­pli­fied the accom­plish­ments and the career of Pro­fes­sor Michel Boudart.

Pro­fes­sor Gates is being rec­og­nized for his pio­neer­ing con­tri­bu­tions to the field of sup­ported mol­e­c­u­lar catal­y­sis. His work can be cred­ited directly with stim­u­lat­ing the area of sin­gle site sup­ported metal catal­y­sis and has led to acces­si­ble and well defined fam­i­lies of pre­cise cat­alytic struc­tures (such as dimers and 4 atom clus­ters) which are inter­me­di­ate between sin­gle atom metal com­plexes and metal par­ti­cles. These advances, for which he and his group are widely known to be world lead­ing, arise from the inte­grated com­bi­na­tion of highly tar­geted organometal­lic syn­the­sis, detailed spec­tro­scopic char­ac­ter­i­za­tion and rig­or­ous per­for­mance eval­u­a­tion under­pinned by com­pu­ta­tional mod­el­ling. By exert­ing con­trol over the elec­tronic prop­er­ties and dis­per­sion of sys­tems through mod­i­fi­ca­tion of lig­and envi­ron­ment, mol­e­c­u­lar­ity and sup­port effects, Pro­fes­sor Gates and his group have been able to tai­lor the cat­alytic prop­er­ties of mate­ri­als in a con­trolled man­ner. Through the appli­ca­tion of IR and x-ray absorp­tion spec­troscopy to work­ing sys­tems, the cru­cial influ­ence of the sup­port upon the iden­ti­ties of inter­me­di­ates and metal-support inter­ac­tions has been clearly elu­ci­dated for reac­tions such as olefin hydro­gena­tion and oligomer­iza­tion. Pro­fes­sor Gates’ work has also resulted in unprece­dented advances in the under­stand­ing of the inter­con­ver­sion of species aris­ing from changes to reac­tion atmos­phere and structure-function rela­tion­ships at the atomic scale. Such advances were not pre­vi­ously achieved in the mech­a­nis­tic descrip­tion of sur­face catalysis.

In Memoriam: Wolfgang Sachtler (1924–2017)

Wolfgang SachtlerThe catal­y­sis com­mu­nity mourns the loss of one of its for­ma­tive and most influ­en­tial fig­ures, Pro­fes­sor Dr. Wolf­gang Max Hugo Sachtler, who passed away on Jan­u­ary 8, 2017. Born on Novem­ber 8, 1924 in Delitzsch, Ger­many, Pro­fes­sor Sachtler received his PhD from the Tech­ni­cal Uni­ver­sity Braun­schweig (Brunswick), Ger­many in 1952, in the area of sur­face sci­ence. Upon grad­u­a­tion, he joined the Royal Dutch Shell Lab­o­ra­tory in Ams­ter­dam where he stayed until retire­ment as Direc­tor of Fun­da­men­tal Research in 1983. From 1963–84, he held a joint appoint­ment as Pro­fes­sor at the National Uni­ver­sity in Lei­den. He was par­tic­u­larly known for his insight­ful appli­ca­tion of sur­face sci­ence con­cepts to catal­y­sis. While at Shell and Lei­den, he advanced the con­cept of rela­tion­ship between metal-oxygen bond energy and the selec­tiv­ity for par­tial oxi­da­tion prod­ucts in hydro­car­bon oxi­da­tions, ini­ti­ated insight­ful dis­cus­sions on whether mol­e­c­u­lar or atomic oxy­gen is nec­es­sary for selec­tive epox­i­da­tion of eth­yl­ene, applied ther­mo­dy­nam­ics and exper­i­men­tal mea­sure­ments to metal alloys to account for the effects of the sur­face com­po­si­tions of alloys to their bind­ing of adsor­bates, and pro­moted the descrip­tion of bimetal­lic catal­y­sis in terms of ensem­ble and lig­and effects.

He joined North­west­ern Uni­ver­sity in Evanston in 1983 as the V.N. Ipati­eff Pro­fes­sor of Cat­alytic Chem­istry and the first Direc­tor of the Cen­ter for Catal­y­sis and Sur­face Sci­ence, where he con­tin­ued his pro­lific and influ­en­tial pro­fes­sional career. He was a lead­ing fig­ure in the design, syn­the­sis, and detailed inves­ti­ga­tion of gen­e­sis of metal­lic par­ti­cles in zeo­lites, their chem­i­cal prop­er­ties, and cat­alytic reac­tion mech­a­nisms. He pro­vided the first evi­dence of proton-induced cationic metal clus­ters in zeo­lite. Later, he broad­ened his research port­fo­lio to include NOx abate­ment by selec­tive cat­alytic reduc­tion strate­gies and hydro­car­bon con­ver­sions cat­alyzed by strong acids. He was among the first to rec­og­nize that trace amounts of alkenes were nec­es­sary for the low tem­per­a­ture iso­mer­iza­tion of butane over sul­fated zir­co­nia. In all, he con­tributed 440 schol­arly pub­li­ca­tions to the literature.

His work was rec­og­nized with the E. V. Mur­phree Award and the Petro­leum Chem­istry Award of the Amer­i­can Chem­i­cal Soci­ety, the Eugène Houdry Award of the North Amer­i­can Catal­y­sis Soci­ety, the Rideal Lec­ture­ship Award of Fara­day Div. Royal. Chem. Soc., R.L. Bur­well Lec­ture­ship Award of North Amer­i­can Catal­y­sis Soci­ety, François Gault Lec­ture­ship Award of Euro­pean Fed. of Catal­y­sis Soci­eties, Ger­man Soci­ety Coal and Fuel Sci­ence award (DGMK-Kolleg). He was a mem­ber of the Royal Nether­lands Acad­emy of Sciences.

In addi­tion to his many sci­en­tific con­tri­bu­tions, many of his friends and col­leagues would remem­ber his wel­com­ing and friendly per­son­al­ity and his con­sis­tent will­ing­ness to help. He offered a very timely help­ing hand to help pro­fes­sional col­leagues as they sought to escape East­ern Europe dur­ing the cold war era. He guided var­i­ous young sci­en­tists at Shell and at Lei­den who later became lead­ing fig­ures in the field. At North­west­ern, he men­tored a large num­ber of stu­dents and post-doctoral fel­lows, many of them have taken lead­er­ship posi­tions in com­pa­nies and who would pay him fre­quent vis­its, some as recent as late last year.

He is sur­vived by his wife of over 60 years Anne-Lore and by three chil­dren and grand­chil­dren.
Harold Kung
North­west­ern Uni­ver­sity
The North­west­ern web site also con­tains a state­ment cel­e­brat­ing the accom­plish­ments of Pro­fes­sor Sachtler (

Nominations are open for the Herman Pines Award in Catalysis

Spon­sored by UOP and the Catal­y­sis Club of Chicago


Herman Pines

Her­man Pines

The Catal­y­sis Club of Chicago is solic­it­ing nom­i­na­tions for the Her­man Pines Award for out­stand­ing research in the field of catal­y­sis. Her­man Pines was an out­stand­ing research sci­en­tist, and his work rev­o­lu­tion­ized the gen­eral under­stand­ing of organic chem­istry, par­tic­u­larly the chem­istry of hydro­car­bons inter­act­ing with strong acids. The Award in
his honor is co-sponsored by UOP, where Her­man Pines began his indus­trial career in 1930 and amassed 145 US Patents, and by the Catal­y­sis Club of Chicago of which
Her­man Pines was a found­ing member.

The Award will be pre­sented at the 2017 Catal­y­sis Club of Chicago Spring Sym­po­sium and con­sists of a plaque, a cash award of $1,000 and reim­burse­ment for travel and lodg­ing as a ple­nary speaker at the Spring Symposium.

The nom­i­nee must meet the fol­low­ing criteria:

  • Sig­nif­i­cant achieve­ments in catal­y­sis research over the past five years
  • For year 2017, the award will be given to a mem­ber of acad­e­mia or national laboratory
  • Active mem­ber in catal­y­sis community
  • A res­i­dent of North America.

Dead­line for nom­i­na­tion is Feb­ru­ary 15, 2017.

Nom­i­na­tions should describe the spe­cific work for which the nom­i­nee should be rec­og­nized. A com­plete cur­ricu­lum vitae with letter(s) of sup­port for the nom­i­nee must be included in the nom­i­na­tion, together with the descrip­tion of work. Let­ters of nom­i­na­tion and sup­port­ing doc­u­men­ta­tion must be sent by Feb­ru­ary 15, 2017 as a sin­gle PDF doc­u­ment to:
Deng-Yang Jan
Pres­i­dent – The Catal­y­sis Club of Chicago (2016–2017)
UOP LLC, A Hon­ey­well Com­pany
25 East Algo­nquin Rd.
Des Plaines, IL 60017

List of past award recip­i­ents of the Her­man Pines Award

1999 Prof. Harold Kung, North­west­ern Uni­ver­sity
2000 Dr. John Mon­nier, East­man Chem­i­cal Com­pany
2001 Prof. Lanny Schmidt, Uni­ver­sity of Min­nesota
2002 Dr. James Brazdil, BP
2003 Prof. James Dumesic, Uni­ver­sity of Wis­con­sin
2004 Dr. Alak Bhat­tacharyya, BP
2005 Prof. Israel Wachs, Lehigh Uni­ver­sity
2006 Dr. Jeff Miller, BP
2007 Prof. Chun­shan Song, Penn­syl­va­nia State Uni­ver­sity
2008 Dr. Alek­sey Yez­erets, Cum­mins Inc.
2009 Prof. Tobin Marks, North­west­ern Uni­ver­sity
2010 Dr. James Rekoske, UOP
2011 Prof. Jing­guang Chen, Uni­ver­sity of Delaware
2012 Dr. Stu­art Soled, Exxon­Mo­bil
2013 Prof. W. Nicholas Del­gass, Pur­due Uni­ver­sity
2014 Dr. Haiy­ing Chen, John­son Matthey
2015 Prof. Fabio H. Ribeiro, Pur­due Uni­ver­sity
2016 Dr. Deng-Yang Jan, UOP-Honeywell

Catal­y­sis Researcher is the recipient of the 2016 AIChE Wilhelm Award

ISRAEL E. WACHS, the G. Whit­ney Sny­der Pro­fes­sor of Chem­i­cal and Bio­mol­e­c­u­lar Engi­neer­ing at Lehigh Uni­ver­sity, is the recip­i­ent of the 2016 R. H. Wil­helm Award from the Amer­i­can Insti­tute of Chem­i­cal Engi­neers (AIChE). The award “rec­og­nizes an individual’s sig­nif­i­cant and new con­tri­bu­tions in chem­i­cal reac­tion engi­neer­ing.” Wachs was rec­og­nized for “sem­i­nal con­tri­bu­tions towards devel­op­ment of inno­v­a­tive con­cepts for mol­e­c­u­lar chem­i­cal reac­tion engi­neer­ing of mixed oxide cat­alyzed reac­tions by estab­lish­ing fun­da­men­tal mol­e­c­u­lar cat­a­lyst structure-activity kinetic relationships.”

The R. H. Wil­helm Award, spon­sored by Exxon­Mo­bil Research and Engi­neer­ing Com­pany, is con­sid­ered the top award in chem­i­cal reac­tion engi­neer­ing given by the AIChE. Wachs was for­mally rec­og­nized for this award at the Awards Cer­e­mony held at the AIChE Annual Meet­ing (Novem­ber 13–18, 2016) in San Fran­cisco, CA.

More infor­ma­tion about the award can be found here:

Suljo Linic is the recipient of the 2017 Paul H. Emmett Award in Fundamental Catalysis

suljo-linicWe are pleased to announce that Pro­fes­sor Suljo Linic of the Uni­ver­sity of Michi­gan is the recip­i­ent of the 2017 Paul H. Emmett Award in Fun­da­men­tal Catal­y­sis, spon­sored by W.R. Grace & Co. and admin­is­tered by The North Amer­i­can Catal­y­sis Soci­ety. The Award con­sists of a plaque and an hon­o­rar­ium of $5,000. The plaque will be pre­sented dur­ing the clos­ing ban­quet cer­e­monies at the 25th NAM meet­ing in Den­ver. Pro­fes­sor Linic will also present a ple­nary lec­ture dur­ing the conference.

The Paul H. Emmett Award in Fun­da­men­tal Catal­y­sis is given in recog­ni­tion of sub­stan­tial indi­vid­ual con­tri­bu­tions 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. More infor­ma­tion on this award and the award process can be found at:

The award rec­og­nizes Pro­fes­sor Linic for ground­break­ing con­tri­bu­tions at the inter­face of het­ero­ge­neous catal­y­sis, sur­face chem­istry, nanoscience, and com­pu­ta­tional catal­y­sis. These include his work in plasmon-driven catal­y­sis that has opened new ways to intro­duce energy into chem­i­cally react­ing sys­tems, his com­bined use of exper­i­men­tal and the­o­ret­i­cal approaches to advance mol­e­c­u­lar under­stat­ing of epox­i­da­tion catal­y­sis as well as his devel­op­ment of pre­dic­tive structure-performance rela­tion­ships for metal alloys that has led to the design of novel alloy cat­a­lysts for elec­tro­chem­i­cal oxy­gen reduc­tion and hydro­car­bon oxi­da­tion reac­tions.
Bruce R. Cook
Vice Pres­i­dent, North Amer­i­can Catal­y­sis Society

2016 CRE Practice Award winner is Stacey Zones

 s_i_zonesThe Catal­y­sis and Reac­tion Engi­neer­ing Divi­sion Lead­er­ship and Board of Direc­tors would like to con­grat­u­late the CRE Divi­sion award recip­i­ents announced at the 2016 AIChE Annual Meet­ing in San Fran­cisco. The CRE cur­rently pro­vides three awards: The Prac­tice Award, Grad­u­ate Stu­dent Travel Awards, and Poster Pre­sen­ta­tion Awards.

The 2016 CRE Prac­tice Award win­ner is Stacey I. Zones, Research Fel­low with Chevron Energy and Tech­nol­ogy Com­pany. This award rec­og­nizes indi­vid­u­als who have made pio­neer­ing con­tri­bu­tions to indus­trial prac­tice of catal­y­sis and chem­i­cal reac­tion engineering.

More infor­ma­tion on the awards can be found at the CRE divi­sion web­site here:

Jeffery Bricker is named the recipient of the 2017 Eugene J. Houdry Award of the North American Catalysis Society

jeffery_brickerDr. Jef­fery Bricker, Senior Direc­tor of Research at Hon­ey­well UOP is the recip­i­ent of the 2017 Eugene J. Houdry Award of the North Amer­i­can Catal­y­sis Soci­ety. The Eugene J. Houdry Award in Applied Catal­y­sis is spon­sored by Clari­ant. It is admin­is­tered by The Catal­y­sis Soci­ety and awarded bien­ni­ally in odd-numbered years. This award rec­og­nizes and encour­ages 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. The award con­sists of a plaque and a prize of $5,000, which will be pre­sented at the 25th North Amer­i­can Meet­ing of the Catal­y­sis Soci­ety to be held in Den­ver, CO, June 4–9, 2017. The Award Ple­nary lec­ture will also be pre­sented dur­ing this meeting.

Dr. Bricker’s achieve­ments include the dis­cov­ery of key reac­tion mech­a­nisms in thiol oxi­da­tion chem­istry in refin­ery fuels, lead­ing to the com­mer­cial­iza­tion of an oxi­da­tion cat­a­lyst that func­tions in the absence of caus­tic. He also invented new light paraf­fin dehy­dro­gena­tion cat­a­lysts with supe­rior dif­fu­sional prop­er­ties, that is cur­rently used in more than 60 per­cent of world­wide on-demand capac­ity. He invented and devel­oped a very selec­tive and sta­ble cat­a­lyst for the oxi­da­tion of hydro­gen for inter-stage reheat­ing in eth­yl­ben­zene dehy­dro­gena­tion for com­mer­cial styrene pro­duc­tion. Finally, Dr. Bricker and his team used dif­fu­sion con­trol to improve the dehy­dro­gena­tion tech­nol­ogy for pro­duc­tion of lin­ear alkyl ben­zenes (LAB), which are the pre­cur­sors for biodegrad­able deter­gents. LAB is pro­duced by selec­tive dehy­dro­gena­tion of lin­ear C10 to C15 alka­nes into lin­ear mono-alkenes fol­lowed by alky­la­tion with ben­zene. This new cat­a­lyst tech­nol­ogy reduces by-product heavy alky­late by 20 per­cent and is used to pro­duce more than 80 per­cent of the world’s LAB.

Bricker received a Bach­e­lor of Sci­ence in Math­e­mat­ics and Chem­istry from Hei­del­berg Uni­ver­sity in 1979 and a Ph.D. in Chem­istry from The Ohio State Uni­ver­sity in 1983. Jeff’s inno­va­tions and 61 US patents have been rec­og­nized with sev­eral awards includ­ing the 2011 ACS National Award for Cre­ative Inven­tion; the UOP Stine Star Award, given for the best break­through of the year; Spe­cialty Mate­ri­als Growth and Inno­va­tion Award and the 2015 Hon­ey­well Dis­tin­guished Tech­nol­o­gist Award, given for out­stand­ing tech­ni­cal con­tri­bu­tions over the course of a career. He fre­quently lec­tures on catal­y­sis glob­ally and was the 2008 Devon W. Meek Lec­turer.
Enrique Igle­sia
Pres­i­dent, North Amer­i­can Catal­y­sis Society

Obituary for Professor Khi-Rui Tsai

Pro­fes­sor Khi-Rui Tsai, a promi­nent pro­fes­sor of Xia­men Uni­ver­sity and a mem­ber of Chi­nese Acad­emy of Sci­ences, passed away peace­fully on Octo­ber 3rd 2016 in Xia­men at his age of 104.

Pro­fes­sor Tsai is a famous phys­i­cal chemist and catal­y­sis sci­en­tist. He is a pio­neer of coor­di­na­tion catal­y­sis and mol­e­c­u­lar catal­y­sis in China. In 1960s, he devel­oped the­o­ret­i­cal con­cepts of catal­y­sis by coor­di­na­tion acti­va­tion, and applied the prin­ci­ples of coor­di­na­tion catal­y­sis to cor­re­late sev­eral types of homo­ge­neous catal­y­sis, het­ero­ge­neous catal­y­sis and metallo-enzyme catal­y­sis sys­tems. In 1970s, he and Prof. Jia-Xi Lu pro­posed inde­pen­dently, from dif­fer­ent approaches, essen­tially sim­i­lar cluster-structural mod­els of Mo-nitrogenase active cen­ters and multi-nuclear coor­di­na­tion acti­va­tion of var­i­ous types of known sub­strates of nitro­ge­nase. Pro­fes­sor Tsai led a team at Xia­men Uni­ver­sity with an aim to bridge the gap between enzyme catal­y­sis and het­ero­ge­neous catal­y­sis since 1970s. He and his co-workers sys­tem­at­i­cally car­ried out com­par­a­tive stud­ies on the mod­els of active cen­ters and reac­tion mech­a­nisms for nitro­ge­nase enzymes and for het­ero­ge­neous ammonia-synthesis cat­a­lysts. The team also stud­ied the effects of ionic pro­mot­ers in N2 hydro­gena­tion to ammo­nia and CO hydro­gena­tion to methanol and ethanol. Pro­fes­sor Tsai pro­posed a unique mech­a­nism for the direct con­ver­sion of syn­gas to ethanol. Up to 1997, Pro­fes­sor Tsai pub­lished more than 200 research arti­cles. He got three times the State Nat­ural Sci­ence Award owing to his out­stand­ing con­tri­bu­tion to catal­y­sis sci­ence. In 1999, he was awarded the He-Liang-He-Li Foun­da­tion Award for Progress in Sci­ence and Technology.

In addi­tion to the sci­en­tific activ­ity, Pro­fes­sor Tsai also served as a mem­ber of the 3rd national com­mit­tee of the Chi­nese People’s Polit­i­cal Con­sul­ta­tive Con­fer­ence, the deputy to the 3rd, 4th and 5th National People’s Con­gress and a mem­ber of the Aca­d­e­mic Degree Com­mis­sion of the State Coun­cil. He was the vice pres­i­dent of Xia­men Uni­ver­sity and the direc­tor of the Sci­en­tific Aca­d­e­mic Com­mit­tee of Xia­men Uni­ver­sity. Pro­fes­sor Tsai also served as a coun­cil mem­ber of Inter­na­tional Asso­ci­a­tion of Catal­y­sis Soci­eties (IACS). Pro­fes­sor Tsai is also a big edu­ca­tor. He was a remark­able ambas­sador for Xia­men Uni­ver­sity and a shin­ing exam­ple of what all edu­ca­tors should aspire to be. He imbued his stu­dents with firm ideals and beliefs, pro­vided them with a strong moral com­pass, guided them using his incred­i­ble wealth of knowl­edge, and treated them all with benevolence.

Pro­fes­sor Tsai’s pass­ing is a mas­sive loss not only to Xia­men Uni­ver­sity but also to the catal­y­sis com­mu­nity in China. Pro­fes­sor Tsai will be greatly missed by his fam­ily, friends, col­leagues, stu­dents and those who work in catal­y­sis field.