Nominations for The Tanabe Prize for Acid Base Catalysis

The Tan­abe Prize for Acid Base Catal­y­sis is spon­sored by the Exxon­Mo­bil Research and Engi­neer­ing Co. and The Inter­na­tion­al Acid-Base Catal­y­sis (ABC) Group. It is admin­is­trat­ed by The ABC Group and will be award­ed at the ABC‑6 Con­fer­ence and at all sub­se­quent ABC con­fer­ences. Each awardee will be asked to give a ple­nary lec­ture. The award con­sists of a plaque and a prize of $ 2000. Up to an addi­tion­al $ 1000 will be made avail­able for oth­er­wise non-reim­bursed trav­el expens­es.

The award is giv­en in recog­ni­tion of sub­stan­tial con­tri­bu­tions to the field of acid and/or base catal­y­sis. It may be giv­en either to a young per­son who has demon­strat­ed real promise in the ear­ly part of his/her career, or to an indi­vid­ual at any stage of his/her career (sub­ject to the age require­ment below), who has made sig­nif­i­cant con­tri­bu­tions to the area with­in the six years pre­ced­ing the award.

Selec­tion of the awardee will be made by a com­mit­tee appoint­ed by a vote of the board mem­bers of The ABC Group. The nom­i­nees should not have passed their 56th birth­day on 10 May 2009 on which date the award will be pre­sent­ed at the ABC‑6 con­fer­ence. Nom­i­na­tion pack­ages should indi­cate the nominee’s qual­i­fi­ca­tions, accom­plish­ments, nom­i­nat­ing let­ter, one option­al sec­ond­ing let­ter and a biog­ra­phy of the nom­i­nee. A crit­i­cal eval­u­a­tion of the sig­nif­i­cance of the candidate’s qual­i­fi­ca­tions should be made as well as a state­ment of the par­tic­u­lar contribution(s) on which the nom­i­na­tion is based. Nom­i­na­tion pack­ages for the Award must be received by 1 June 2008. All nom­i­na­tion pack­ages (one elec­tron­ic copy) should be sent to Jacques Vedrine, Pres­i­dent, The ABC Group; at An email receipt mes­sage will be sent to each nom­i­na­tor.

Travel Grants for Participation in the 14th ICC

Trav­el Grants for Par­tic­i­pa­tion in the 14th Inter­na­tion­al Con­gress on Catal­y­sis Seoul, Korea, 13–18 July 2008
The North Amer­i­can Catal­y­sis Soci­ety, NACS, through the office of the For­eign Sec­re­tary (Pro­fes­sor Wm. Cur­tis Con­ner) will dis­perse fund­ing from the Nation­al Sci­ence Foun­da­tion and the Depart­ment of Ener­gy to sup­port par­tic­i­pa­tion by US cat­alyt­ic sci­en­tist and engi­neers in the 14th Inter­na­tion­al Con­gress on Catal­y­sis, 14th ICC, to be held in Seoul, Korea from 13–18 July 2008. We hope to sup­port the air trav­el by US car­ri­ers for at least two dozen par­tic­i­pants.

Appli­ca­tions will be cho­sen based on sev­er­al cri­te­ria:

  1. Young US fac­ul­ty and/or mem­bers of under­rep­re­sent­ed or minor­i­ty par­tic­i­pants active in catal­y­sis research.
  2. Cho­sen pre­sen­ters of oral or poster pre­sen­ta­tions at the 14th ICC.
  3. Par­tic­i­pants as ses­sion chairs or oth­er ICC or NACS pro­ceed­ings in Seoul.

Please apply to Wm. Cur­tis Con­ner (For­eign Sec­re­tary of NACS) before 15 May 2008 by email at, or by Fax to 413–545-0316 or by postal mail to:
Wm. Cur­tis Con­ner
For­eign Sec­re­tary of NACS
Dept. Chem. Engi­neer­ing
Univ. Mass­a­chu­setts
Amherst, MA 01003

Your one page appli­ca­tion should doc­u­ment your qual­i­fi­ca­tions as spec­i­fied in the cri­te­ria, 1–3, above and include:

  1. Your posi­tion, includ­ing years in present posi­tion and activ­i­ty in catal­y­sis research in the last four years (pub­li­ca­tions, grants and pre­sen­ta­tions in catal­y­sis).
  2. Your accept­ed par­tic­i­pa­tion in the 14th ICC: oral pre­sen­ta­tions and/or poster(s).
  3. Oth­er par­tic­i­pa­tion such as ses­sion chair.
  4. Any oth­er fac­tors the inde­pen­dent pan­el should con­sid­er.

The Inde­pen­dent pan­el will inform the appli­cants of their trav­el grants before 1 June 2008.

Again, young fac­ul­ty, par­tic­i­pat­ing stu­dents and under rep­re­sent­ed groups are encour­aged to apply and will be con­sid­ered pos­i­tive­ly! How­ev­er, these grants are restrict­ed pri­mar­i­ly to trav­el expens­es by US car­ri­er. Reg­is­tra­tion and hotel costs are not gen­er­al­ly to be cov­ered by these grants (oth­er spec­i­fied funds are required).

New Video Clip available featuring Dr. Haldor Topsoe

We have added a new video clip of the first five min­utes of an inter­view with Dr. Hal­dor Top­soe. This may be viewed by going to the “His­to­ry of Catal­y­sis” fold­er on the NACS web­site; then select “Hal­dor Top­soe” under His­tor­i­cal Video Clips.
John Armor and Burt Davis

In Memoriam: Eric Derouane (1944–2008)

Eric Gérard Joseph Der­ouane died on 17th March 2008 from a heart attack in his home in Luz, Lagos, Por­tu­gal. With him, the Catal­y­sis Com­mu­ni­ty has lost one of its strongest and bril­liant sci­en­tists.

Born on 4th July 1944 at Péruwelz (Hain­aut), Bel­gium, Eric Der­ouane obtained a Licence degree at the Uni­ver­si­ty of Liège, B (1965), a Mas­ter of Arts (MA) degree in Chem­istry in Prof. J. Turkevich’s lab­o­ra­to­ry at Prince­ton Uni­ver­si­ty, USA (1966) and a Doc­tor­at ès Sci­ences (PhD) at the Uni­ver­si­ty of Liège, B (1968), includ­ing a one year (1966–1967) in France at the “Ser­vice de Physique du Solide et de Réso­nance Mag­né­tique, CEN Saclay” in Prof. A. Abragam’s lab­o­ra­to­ry. He stayed a year (1969–1970) in USA at Stan­ford Uni­ver­si­ty as vis­it­ing Schol­ar in Prof. M. Boudart’s lab­o­ra­to­ry. He became Research Assis­tant of the “Fonds Nation­al de la Recherche Sci­en­tifique” (FNRS) and Lec­tur­er at the Uni­ver­si­ty of Liège, B (1969–1973). In 1973, he was appoint­ed Pro­fes­sor at the “Fac­ultés Uni­ver­si­taires Notre-Dame de la Paix” (FUNDP) in Namur, B, where he cre­at­ed the Lab­o­ra­to­ry of Catal­y­sis, of which he remained Direc­tor until 1995. He was on sab­bat­i­cal leaves in 1979 as Research Fel­low with J. Sin­felt at Exxon Res. & Devel­op. Corp., Lin­den, USA, and in 1982–84 as Research Sci­en­tist, Head of Explorato­ry Catal­y­sis Syn­the­sis Group at Mobil Res. & Devel­op. Corp., Cen­tral Research Lab­o­ra­to­ry, Prince­ton, USA. In 1995, he became Full Pro­fes­sor at the Uni­ver­si­ty of Liv­er­pool and was appoint­ed Direc­tor of the Lev­er­hulme Cen­tre for Inno­v­a­tive Catal­y­sis (LCIC). In 2003, he obtained the Gul­benkian Pro­fes­sor­ship at the Uni­ver­si­ty of Algarve in Faro, P, where he was Direc­tor of the Chem­i­cal Research Cen­tre. He became lat­er Invit­ed Pro­fes­sor at the “Insti­tu­to Supe­ri­or Tec­ni­co” (IST) of the Tech­ni­cal Uni­ver­si­ty of Lis­bon, where he had exten­sive coop­er­a­tion with the group led by Prof. F. Ramôa Ribeiro.

His main fields of inves­ti­ga­tion dealt with catal­y­sis over zeo­lites in gen­er­al, sup­port­ed met­als, nov­el mate­ri­als and mixed oxides in par­tic­u­lar, and alka­ne upgrad­ing and fine chem­i­cals more specif­i­cal­ly. One of Eric’s most strik­ing qual­i­ties was his acute inter­est for every new sci­en­tif­ic dis­cov­ery and for indus­tri­al appli­ca­tions of his find­ings.

Eric Der­ouane had an unusu­al work­ing effi­cien­cy. He had a high intel­lec­tu­al mobil­i­ty and was always attract­ed by new mate­ri­als and new con­cepts. Among them, one can men­tion ZSM‑5/MFI new zeo­lite in the ear­ly 70s, lead­ing to a 30 year col­lab­o­ra­tion with J.C. Védrine, cuprate-type super­con­duc­tors, con­fine­ment effect and mol­e­c­u­lar traf­fic con­trol in zeolitic mate­ri­als. He also stud­ied reac­tion mech­a­nisms using iso­topic labelling and in-situ MAS-NMR in the 80s, com­bi­na­to­r­i­al catal­y­sis and high through­put tech­nol­o­gy in the late 90s.

Dur­ing his 20 years of ded­i­cat­ed ser­vice to the Uni­ver­si­ty of Namur, Eric Der­ouane devel­oped new con­cepts, which had an impor­tant impact on the catal­y­sis and zeo­lite com­mu­ni­ties. In 1986, he was elect­ed Head of the Chem­istry Depart­ment. He then embarked upon an impres­sive re-struc­tur­ing pro­gramme to improve its effi­cien­cy. The mod­el, which he ini­ti­at­ed, is still in ser­vice today. His lab­o­ra­to­ry was rec­og­nized as an out­stand­ing school of sci­en­tif­ic research and edu­ca­tion in catal­y­sis.

Very ear­ly, Eric Der­ouane real­ized the impor­tance of inter­dis­ci­pli­nar­i­ty, which lead him to play a key role in the cre­ation of the Insti­tute for Stud­ies in Inter­face Sci­ences (ISIS) at Namur in 1987, which gath­ered lab­o­ra­to­ries of physics and chem­istry for 20 years. Eric Der­ouane also paid heed to tech­no­log­i­cal trans­fer to indus­tries. After his expe­ri­ence gained through his sab­bat­i­cal posi­tions at Exxon and at Mobil, he devel­oped many col­lab­o­ra­tions with indus­tri­al part­ners and served as con­sul­tant.

At Liv­er­pool, the aim of the LCIC was to pro­mote cre­ative fun­da­men­tal cat­alyt­ic sci­ence and often to take-up indus­tri­al chal­lenges. Eric Der­ouane defined inno­va­tion as “the cre­ation of a new or bet­ter prod­uct or process, imply­ing cre­ativ­i­ty, use­ful­ness, and appli­ca­tion”. Towards this end, the LCIC had indus­tri­al affil­i­ates as part­ners. Under his lead­er­ship the LCIC became the largest catal­y­sis cen­tre in the UK.and a cen­tre of sci­en­tif­ic exchanges and col­lab­o­ra­tions. Eric Der­ouane estab­lished links with many UK and inter­na­tion­al lab­o­ra­to­ries. Eric Der­ouane cre­at­ed in 1997 an Euro­pean Asso­ci­at­ed Lab­o­ra­to­ry “Lab­o­ra­to­ry for high speci­fici­ty catal­y­sis” between LCIC/University of Liv­er­pool and Insti­tut de Recherch­es sur la Catal­yse, Lyon, F/CNRS.

In 1999, he co-found­ed with Prof. S. Roberts the spin-off Liv­er­pool-based com­pa­ny “Sty­la­cats”, of which he became a direc­tor. He pro­vid­ed wise sug­ges­tions and ideas, which led the com­pa­ny to pio­neer new tech­nolo­gies, in par­tic­u­lar cat­a­lysts for asym­met­ric hydro­gena­tion, microwave-induced reac­tions and enzyme mimet­ics.
At the Uni­ver­si­ty of Faro, Eric Der­ouane devel­oped a research project, joint­ly with the Insti­tu­to Tec­ni­co de Lis­boa, on Friedel-Crafts reac­tions. He also col­lab­o­rat­ed close­ly on var­i­ous research projects with Prof. F. Ramôa Ribeiro’s zeo­lite group of the Insti­tu­to Supe­ri­or Tec­ni­co of the Uni­ver­si­ty of Lis­bon.

Eric Der­ouane co-authored over 400 sci­en­tif­ic papers, 11 books and 61 patents.
Eric Der­ouane also con­tributed to the devel­op­ment and strength­en­ing of the euro­pean catal­y­sis com­mu­ni­ty. He cre­at­ed in 1975 the Euro­pean Asso­ci­a­tion in Catal­y­sis (EUROCAT), a con­sor­tium of Euro­pean lab­o­ra­to­ries under the aus­pices of the Coun­cil of Europe and pro­mot­ed stan­dard­i­s­a­tion of char­ac­ter­i­sa­tion of cat­a­lysts: Euro-Pt1 to ‑Pt4, Euro-Ni1 & ‑Ni2, Euro­cat zeo­lite, Euro­cat oxides, etc. This Euro­cat group paved the way to the cre­ation of the Euro­pean Fed­er­a­tion of Catal­y­sis Soci­eties (EFCATS) and of the François Gault lec­ture­ship. He was elect­ed Pres­i­dent of EFCATS in 1995 for two years.

He became Edi­tor-in-chief of J. Mol. Catal. in 1982 and was mem­ber of the Edi­to­r­i­al Boards of sev­er­al sci­en­tif­ic jour­nals and mem­ber of the sci­en­tif­ic com­mit­tees of many con­gress­es and col­lo­quia. He co-orga­nized sev­er­al con­gress­es him­self, in par­tic­u­lar with F. Lemos and F. Ramôa Ribeiro in Por­tu­gal sev­er­al NATO Advanced Stud­ies Insti­tutes on top­ics includ­ing “the con­ver­sion of light alka­nes”, “com­bi­na­to­r­i­al catal­y­sis and high through­put cat­a­lyst design and test­ing”, “prin­ci­ples and meth­ods for accel­er­at­ed cat­a­lyst design and test­ing” and “sus­tain­able strate­gies for the upgrad­ing of nat­ur­al gas”.

Eric Derouane’s con­tri­bu­tions to catal­y­sis have been recog­nised by many awards and aca­d­e­m­ic hon­ors, includ­ing the Wauters Prize (1964), the Mund Prize (1967) of the “Société Royale de Chimie”, the Stas-Spring Prize (1971) and the Adolphe Wetrems Prize (1975) of the “Académie Royale de Bel­gique”, the Roset­ta Briegel-Bar­ton Lec­tur­ership at the Uni­ver­si­ty of Okla­homa (1973), the Prize of the “Cer­cle of Alum­ni de la Fon­da­tion Uni­ver­si­taire de Bel­gique” (1980), the Cia­pet­ta Lec­ture­ship of the North Amer­i­can Catal­y­sis Soci­ety (1981), the Catal­y­sis Lec­ture­ship of the Société Chim­ique de France (1993) and the pres­ti­gious Franc­qui Prize, B (1994), the high­est hon­or for all Sci­ences in Bel­gium.

He was made “Offici­er de l’Ordre Léopold” in Bel­gium (1990), cor­re­spond­ing Mem­ber of the “Académie Royale des Sci­ences, des Let­tres et des Beaux Arts de Bel­gique” (1991), mem­ber of the “New York Acad­e­my of Sci­ences” and Asso­ciate Mem­ber of the “Euro­pean Acad­e­my of Arts, Sci­ences and Human­i­ties”. He was con­ferred Doc­tor Hon­oris Causa, Tech­ni­cal Uni­ver­si­ty of Lis­bon (1996).

Eric Der­ouane attract­ed many stu­dents and for­eign schol­ars to his lab­o­ra­to­ries in Namur, Liv­er­pool and Faro. His ener­gy, his clear mind and his broad knowl­edge impressed his stu­dents, researchers and col­leagues. He was an out­stand­ing and demand­ing pro­fes­sor, always ready to share his knowl­edge with his stu­dents. His cours­es were always clear, high­ly struc­tured and eas­i­ly under­stand­able. Many of his for­mer stu­dents and post-docs occu­py today promi­nent posi­tions in uni­ver­si­ties and indus­tries. All of them will remem­ber his bril­liant and rig­or­ous sci­en­tif­ic approach, and no doubt they all will great­ly miss him.
Jacques C. Védrine and Michel Che, Paris
Fer­nan­do Ramôa Ribeiro, Lis­boa
Jian­liang Xiao, Liv­er­pool
Bao-Lian Su, Namur
23 April 2008

Update on North American Meeting San Francisco, June 7–12, 2009

The orga­ni­za­tion of the 2009 NAM is pro­gress­ing on sched­ule. The meet­ing will be held at the Hyatt Regency Hotel, locat­ed at the Embar­cadero water­front in San Fran­cis­co. The meet­ing co-chairs are Bruce Gates, Enrique Igle­sia, and Charles Wil­son. All avail­able details have been post­ed on the meet­ing web­site (; inquiries should be direct­ed to The first cir­cu­lar will be mailed by the end of April 2008.

Catal­y­sis finds itself as the crit­i­cal dis­ci­pline as the world at large faces the chal­lenges of sus­tain­able devel­op­ment, clean ener­gy, and envi­ron­men­tal respon­si­bil­i­ty. The 2009 NAM will bring togeth­er lead­ing inter­na­tion­al researchers in catal­y­sis at a geo­graph­i­cal and his­tor­i­cal cross­roads between Asia and the world. Our aim is to pro­mote aca­d­e­m­ic and indus­tri­al con­nec­tions among emerg­ing and estab­lished com­mu­ni­ties of researchers and prac­ti­tion­ers of catal­y­sis in the world at large.
The planned ses­sion top­ics include:

  • Catal­y­sis for Ener­gy
  • Catal­y­sis for Envi­ron­men­tal Pro­tec­tion
  • Catal­y­sis for the Syn­the­sis of Chem­i­cals
  • Fun­da­men­tals of Catal­y­sis
  • Chem­i­cal Reac­tion Engi­neer­ing

The time­line is as fol­lows:

  • August 1, 2008, call for papers and appli­ca­tions for Kokes Stu­dent Trav­el Awards
  • Novem­ber 15, 2008, dead­line for sub­mis­sion of abstracts and Kokes appli­ca­tions to be made via the meet­ing web site
  • Feb­ru­ary 9, 2009, noti­fi­ca­tion of accept­ed abstracts for oral and poster
    pre­sen­ta­tions and award­ed Kokes grants
  • April 1, 2009, dead­line for ear­ly reg­is­tra­tion

US National Academy of Engineering recognizes new catalysis members

The Nation­al Acad­e­my of Engi­neer­ing (NAE) has elect­ed 65 new mem­bers and nine for­eign asso­ciates, Elec­tion to the Nation­al Acad­e­my of Engi­neer­ing is among the high­est pro­fes­sion­al dis­tinc­tions accord­ed to an engi­neer. Acad­e­my mem­ber­ship hon­ors those who have made out­stand­ing con­tri­bu­tions to “engi­neer­ing research, prac­tice, or edu­ca­tion, includ­ing, where appro­pri­ate, sig­nif­i­cant con­tri­bu­tions to the engi­neer­ing lit­er­a­ture,” and to the “pio­neer­ing of new and devel­op­ing fields of tech­nol­o­gy, mak­ing major advance­ments in tra­di­tion­al fields of engi­neer­ing, or developing/implementing inno­v­a­tive approach­es to engi­neer­ing edu­ca­tion.”

Two in our catal­y­sis com­mu­ni­ty include

  • Enrique Igle­sia, Chan­cel­lor Pro­fes­sor, depart­ment of chem­i­cal engi­neer­ing, Uni­ver­si­ty of Cal­i­for­nia, Berke­ley. For out­stand­ing con­tri­bu­tions to the under­stand­ing of cat­a­lyst struc­ture-func­tion rela­tion­ships, the devel­op­ment of nov­el cat­a­lysts, and lead­er­ship in the field of catal­y­sis.
  • Rut­ger Antho­ny van San­ten, pro­fes­sor, depart­ment of chem­i­cal engi­neer­ing and chem­istry, Eind­hoven Uni­ver­si­ty of Tech­nol­o­gy, Eind­hoven, Nether­lands. For pio­neer­ing work on the fun­da­men­tals of reac­tion mech­a­nisms in het­ero­ge­neous catal­y­sis.

More about Enrique Igle­sia — Chancellor’s Pro­fes­sor of Chem­i­cal Engi­neer­ing Enrique Igle­sia has been elect­ed to the Nation­al Acad­e­my of Engi­neer­ing (NAE). Igle­sia was elect­ed “for out­stand­ing con­tri­bu­tions to the under­stand­ing of cat­a­lyst struc­ture-func­tion rela­tion­ships, the devel­op­ment of nov­el cat­a­lysts, and lead­er­ship in the field of catal­y­sis.” Igle­sia has been involved in stud­ies of het­ero­ge­neous cat­a­lysts for the direct and indi­rect con­ver­sion of methane to high­er hydro­car­bons, uses of light alka­nes in desul­fu­r­iza­tion and de-NOx, reac­tions, dehy­dro­gena­tion of light alka­nes to alkenes and aro­mat­ics, cat­alyt­ic reform­ing and crack­ing process­es, low-tem­per­a­ture iso­mer­iza­tion, alky­la­tion, and com­bus­tion reac­tions.

Igle­sia, who was born in Cuba, earned his B.S. at Prince­ton and his M.S. (1979) and Ph.D. (1982) from Stan­ford Uni­ver­si­ty. He was a Research Asso­ciate and Sec­tion Head of Catal­y­sis Sci­ence at the Cor­po­rate Research Lab­o­ra­to­ries of Exxon Research and Engi­neer­ing Co. before join­ing the Berke­ley fac­ul­ty in 1993. He is also a Fac­ul­ty Sci­en­tist at the Lawrence Berke­ley Nation­al Lab­o­ra­to­ry, Vice Pres­i­dent of the North Amer­i­can Catal­y­sis Soci­ety, Edi­tor-in-Chief of the Jour­nal of Catal­y­sis and the direc­tor of the Berke­ley Catal­y­sis Cen­ter.

Iglesia’s recent awards include the Hum­boldt Senior Sci­en­tist Research Award (2007); the Don­ald Ster­ling Noyce Prize for Excel­lence in Under­grad­u­ate Teach­ing, Uni­ver­si­ty of Cal­i­for­nia (2005); Ipati­eff Pro­fes­sor­ship, North­west­ern Uni­ver­si­ty (2005); Robert Bur­well Award of the Catal­y­sis Soci­ety (2005); and the George A. Olah Award in Hydro­car­bon Chem­istry of the Amer­i­can Chem­i­cal Soci­ety (2005).

Igle­sia was among 65 new mem­bers and nine for­eign asso­ciates elect­ed to the NAE. This brings the total U.S. mem­ber­ship of NAE to 2,227 and the num­ber of for­eign asso­ciates to 194.
Acknowl­edge­ment to the Univ. of Calif., Berke­ley, Col­lege of Chem­istry website,

In Memoriam: Eric Derouane (1944–2008)

It is with great sad­ness that we have learned that Pro­fes­sor Eric Der­ouane passed away on 17 March in his home at Luz Lagos (Algarve) Por­tu­gal.

Pro­fes­sor Der­ouane will be remem­bered by his stu­dents and col­leagues, both in indus­try and acad­e­mia, for his cre­ative lead­er­ship of the Namur and Liv­er­pool catal­y­sis lab­o­ra­to­ries and for his men­tor­ship of many col­leagues and stu­dents..

Pro­fes­sor Der­ouane was world renowned for his many con­tri­bu­tions in catal­y­sis for petro­chem­i­cals and fine chem­i­cals, par­tic­u­lar­ly for his work on zeo­lites and their role in cat­alyt­ic process­es and the use of in-situ meth­ods for cat­a­lyst char­ac­ter­i­za­tion.

Pro­fes­sor Eric G. Der­ouane obtained in 1968 his MSc in Chem­istry at Prince­ton Uni­ver­si­ty and his Dr.Sc. at the Uni­ver­si­ty of Liège. He then became a Research Asso­ciate of FNRS (Bel­gium). In 1973, he was appoint­ed as Pro­fes­sor at the Fac­ultés Uni­ver­si­taires Notre-Dame de la Paix (FUNDP) in Namur, Bel­gium, where he cre­at­ed the Lab­o­ra­to­ry of Catal­y­sis. In 1995, he was invit­ed as Full Pro­fes­sor and Direc­tor of the Lerve­hulme Cen­tre for Inno­v­a­tive Catal­y­sis at the Uni­ver­si­ty of Liv­er­pool. Eric G. Der­ouane became Pro­fes­sor at the Uni­ver­si­ty of Faro, Por­tu­gal in 2003.

His con­tri­bu­tions to catal­y­sis have been rec­og­nized by the Cia­pet­ta Lec­ture­ship of the North Amer­i­can Catal­y­sis Soci­ety (1981), the Catal­y­sis Lec­ture­ship of the Société Chim­ique de France (1993), and the 1994 Franc­qui Prize. He was a Cor­re­spond­ing Mem­ber of the Roy­al Acad­e­my of Bel­gium, Edi­tor-in-Chief of the Jour­nal of Mol­e­c­u­lar Catal­y­sis A, and past Pres­i­dent of the Euro­pean Fed­er­a­tion of the Catal­y­sis Soci­eties (EFCATS) 1995–1997.
With kind regards,
Miche Che, Fer­nan­do Ramoa Ribeiro and Jacques C. Védrine

Explaining what catalysis is

The fol­low­ing is a new fea­ture post­ed at the top of the list of sub-fold­ers of the NACS web­site. Sug­ges­tions or ways to enhance the mes­sage are wel­come.

What is Catal­y­sis.…. or Catal­y­sis, So what?

This short mes­sage is intend­ed to pro­vide ways to explain what catal­y­sis is. Count­less times, I’ve been asked about what is catal­y­sis from per­sons of dif­fer­ing back­grounds: immi­gra­tion offi­cials, four­somes on a golf course, exec­u­tives in air­planes, or neigh­bors. To those of us who work in the field, we see tremen­dous val­ue which has repeat­ed­ly been sup­port­ed by sur­veys of the impact of catal­y­sis upon finan­cial mea­sur­ing tools, like the GNP (Gross Nation­al Prod­uct), but we need to be able to explain our pro­fes­sion to those not famil­iar with the tech­nol­o­gy.

Catal­y­sis is a tech­nol­o­gy which increas­es the rate of a chem­i­cal reac­tion. This tech­ni­cal field employs both sci­en­tists and engi­neers. Cat­a­lysts are the mate­ri­als used by these per­sons to explore the phe­nom­e­non of catal­y­sis. Cat­a­lysts are mate­ri­als which speed up chem­i­cal reac­tions with­out the cat­a­lyst being con­sumed; they are mate­ri­als which induce change. More specif­i­cal­ly, cat­a­lysts are mate­ri­als which change the rate of attain­ment of chem­i­cal equi­lib­ri­um with­out them­selves being changed or con­sumed in the process. Cat­a­lysts also pro­vide selec­tiv­i­ty or speci­fici­ty to par­tic­u­lar prod­ucts which are more desir­able than oth­ers. All these attrib­ut­es about catal­y­sis and cat­a­lysts trans­late to ener­gy sav­ings, less pol­lu­tion, few­er side prod­ucts, low­er cost reac­tor mate­ri­als, and ulti­mate­ly prod­ucts which reduce glob­al warm­ing. It has been said (A. Mit­tasch) that “chem­istry with­out catal­y­sis would be a sword with­out a handle…or a bell with­out sound.”

Catal­y­sis is the key to both life and lifestyle. It is an essen­tial tech­nol­o­gy for chem­i­cal and mate­ri­als man­u­fac­tur­ing, for fuel cells and oth­er ener­gy con­ver­sion sys­tems, for com­bus­tion devices, and for pol­lu­tion con­trol sys­tems which great­ly impact every­one on our plan­et. Some oth­er spe­cif­ic exam­ples of what cat­a­lysts do include appli­ca­tions for

  • Fuels & Ener­gy — Over half the world’s gaso­line is cur­rent­ly pro­duced by a process devel­oped in 1942 called Flu­id Cat­alyt­ic Crack­ing (FCC). This process rev­o­lu­tion­ized the petro­le­um indus­try by more effi­cient­ly trans­form­ing high­er boil­ing oils into lighter, usable prod­ucts. FCC pro­duces gaso­line as well as heat­ing oil, fuel oil, propane, butane, and chem­i­cal feed­stocks that are instru­men­tal in pro­duc­ing oth­er prod­ucts such as plas­tics, syn­thet­ic rub­bers and fab­rics, and cos­met­ics. It is con­sid­ered one of the most impor­tant chem­i­cal engi­neer­ing achieve­ments of the 20th cen­tu­ry. In the future, cat­a­lysts will be used to pro­duce clean ener­gy from renew­able ener­gy sources, such as hydro­gen for fuel cells and trans­porta­tion fuels from non-edi­ble bio­mass.
  • Emis­sions — Auto­mo­bile emis­sion cat­a­lysts have been devel­oped since the 1960s to destroy CO, NOx and hydro­car­bon emis­sions from mobile vehi­cles. Cat­a­lysts are also used to destroy the ori­gins of sul­fur based emis­sions in the com­bus­tion of fuels. In addi­tion cat­a­lysts are wide­ly used to destroy the objec­tion­able emis­sions from the world’s coal fired pow­er plants.
  • Poly­mers — Cat­a­lysts are also used in the pro­duc­tion of the world’s poly­mers. Cur­rent exam­ples of poly­mers include adhe­sives, coat­ings, foams, and pack­ag­ing mate­ri­als, tex­tile and indus­tri­al fibers, com­pos­ites, elec­tron­ic devices, bio­med­ical devices,
  • opti­cal devices, and pre­cur­sors for many new­ly devel­oped high-tech ceram­ics.

  • Life — Enzymes are one exam­ple of cat­a­lysts with­in our bod­ies which are crit­i­cal to main­tain­ing life. Fur­ther, the pos­si­bil­i­ty of ana­lyz­ing and ulti­mate­ly manip­u­lat­ing genes rests on the cat­alyt­ic prop­er­ties of RNA to repli­cate mol­e­cules con­tain­ing bio­log­i­cal infor­ma­tion.
  • Health — The phar­ma­ceu­ti­cal indus­try employ­ees large amounts of cat­a­lysts need­ed to pro­duce the speci­fici­ty of prod­ucts they require. Cat­a­lysts used in the pro­duc­tion of drugs are used to save lives and improve the health and lifestyle of peo­ple around the world.
  • Food - Cat­a­lysts are wide­ly used in food pro­cess­ing and enhance the per­for­mance of oth­er con­sumer prod­ucts such as laun­dry deter­gents.

The eco­nom­ic con­tri­bu­tion from catal­y­sis is as remark­able as the phe­nom­e­non itself. Four sec­tors of the world’s econ­o­my are petro­le­um, ener­gy pro­duc­tion, chem­i­cals pro­duc­tion, and the food indus­try; togeth­er they account for more than 10 tril­lion dol­lars of the world’s GNP, and all of these are crit­i­cal­ly depen­dent on the use of cat­a­lysts. Esti­mates are that catal­y­sis con­tributes to greater than 35% of glob­al GDP; the biggest part of this con­tri­bu­tion comes from the gen­er­a­tion of high ener­gy fuels (i.e., gaso­line, diesel, hydro­gen) which depend crit­i­cal­ly on the use of small amounts of cat­a­lysts in our world’s petro­le­um refiner­ies. As a busi­ness, the cat­a­lyst mar­ket itself is grow­ing from the cur­rent US$12 bil­lion, so that catal­y­sis costs are much less than 0.1% of the sales rev­enue from the prod­ucts which they cre­ate.

The North Amer­i­can Catal­y­sis Soci­ety is a not-for-prof­it pro­fes­sion­al orga­ni­za­tion of over 1,500 sci­en­tists and engi­neers who work in the field of catal­y­sis. The web­site for the Soci­ety, pro­vides infor­ma­tion to mem­bers and to the pub­lic about pro­fes­sion­al activ­i­ties as well as fold­ers con­tain­ing infor­ma­tion on catal­y­sis sci­ence. Those seek­ing addi­tion­al infor­ma­tion and oth­er detailed exam­ples on what catal­y­sis is, does, or the val­ue it pro­vides are encour­age to look fur­ther at the edu­ca­tion­al sub­fold­ers on this web­site. Anoth­er resource is the excel­lent text­book: Fun­da­men­tals of Indus­tri­al Cat­alyt­ic Process­es, by C. H. Bartholomew and Robert J. Far­rauto, pub­lished by John Wiley & Sons; 2nd edi­tion (2005), ISBN-13: 978–0471457138
John Armor, Feb­ru­ary 2008
(with sug­ges­tions from Bob Far­rauto and Enrique Igle­sia)

ACS Awards recognize catalysis efforts

This years ACS Awards cite two of our col­leagues in the catal­y­sis area

  • Pro­fes­sor Israel E. Wachs of Lehigh Uni­ver­si­ty receives the George A. Olah Award in Petro­le­um or Hydro­car­bon Chem­istry. For more infor­ma­tion refer to
  • Aveli­no Cor­ma, a pro­fes­sor and direc­tor of the Insti­tute of Chem­i­cal Tech­nol­o­gy at Poly­tech­nic Uni­ver­si­ty of Valen­cia, in Spain, work is rec­og­nized with the Gabor A. Somor­jai Award for Cre­ative Research in Catal­y­sis

Gabor A. Somor­jai Award for Cre­ative Research in Catal­y­sis is spon­sored by the Gabor A. & Judith K. Somor­jai Endow­ment Fund.

More info on Pro­fes­sor Cor­ma (tak­en in part from C&E News, Jan. 21, p. 55 by Mitch Jaco­by) — One area of research asso­ci­at­ed around the world with Cor­ma’s name is zeo­lites. Cor­ma’s group has designed, syn­the­sized, and found impor­tant appli­ca­tions for dozens of these micro­p­orous crys­talline cat­alyt­ic solids. For exam­ple, a num­ber of his group’s nov­el zeo­lites that are relat­ed to the min­er­al mor­den­ite are com­mon­ly used indus­tri­al­ly for paraf­fin iso­mer­iza­tion due to their uncom­mon­ly high sta­bil­i­ty, chem­i­cal selec­tiv­i­ty, and resis­tance to sul­fur poi­son­ing. Cor­ma and cowork­ers have pre­pared many oth­er zeo­lite-type mate­ri­als, includ­ing some that fea­ture unusu­al­ly large pores, inter­con­nect­ing chan­nels, and an excep­tion­al degree of inter­nal open­ness. Those mate­ri­als are use­ful for dealky­la­tion of bulky aro­mat­ic com­pounds, crack­ing of petro­le­um oils, and oth­er types of refin­ing appli­ca­tions.

Oth­er exam­ples of the Cor­ma group’s inven­tive­ness include new­ly devel­oped sup­port­ed gold cat­a­lysts that selec­tive­ly reduce aro­mat­ic nitro groups and oth­er types of cat­a­lysts used to pre­pare fine chem­i­cals and chi­ral com­pounds. In addi­tion, Cor­ma and cowork­ers have designed instru­men­ta­tion that has been com­mer­cial­ized, includ­ing a sys­tem for high-through­put syn­the­sis of zeo­lites and oth­er cat­alyt­ic mate­ri­als.

Cor­ma, 56, was born into a farm­ing fam­i­ly in east­ern Spain. He says he was des­tined to remain a farmer with min­i­mal school­ing, but his par­ents’ desire for their son to obtain an edu­ca­tion changed his life for­ev­er. Fas­ci­nat­ed by sci­ence in high school, Cor­ma chose to study chem­istry at the Uni­ver­si­ty of Valen­cia and com­plet­ed an under­grad­u­ate degree there in 1973. In 1976, he com­plet­ed Ph.D. stud­ies in catal­y­sis at the Span­ish Nation­al Research Coun­cil, in Madrid, and then con­duct­ed post­doc­tor­al research at Queen’s Uni­ver­si­ty, in Kingston, Ontario. After serv­ing in a num­ber of oth­er aca­d­e­m­ic posi­tions, Cor­ma found­ed the insti­tute in Valen­cia for which he now serves as direc­tor. Cor­ma has pub­lished more than 600 papers in peer-reviewed jour­nals and is an author of some 90 inter­na­tion­al patents, more than 20 of which have been licensed for com­mer­cial devel­op­ment. He has served as direc­tor for more than 25 Ph.D. stu­dents and is ranked among the 50 most cit­ed chemists in the past decade.

The award address will be pre­sent­ed before the Divi­sion of Chem­i­cal Edu­ca­tion.

Nominations Open for Eugene J. Houdry Award in Applied Catalysis

The Eugene J. Houdry Award in Applied Catal­y­sis is spon­sored by Süd-Chemie, Inc. It is admin­is­tered by The Catal­y­sis Soci­ety and is award­ed bien­ni­al­ly in odd num­bered years, gen­er­al­ly at the North Amer­i­can meet­ing of The Catal­y­sis Soci­ety, where the awardee will be asked to give a ple­nary lec­ture. The award con­sists of a plaque and a prize of $5,000. An addi­tion­al $1,000 is avail­able for oth­er­wise unre­im­bursed trav­el expens­es.

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.

Selec­tion of the Award win­ner will be made by a com­mit­tee of renowned sci­en­tists and engi­neers appoint­ed by the Pres­i­dent of The North Amer­i­can Catal­y­sis Soci­ety. Selec­tion shall be made with­out regard for age, sex, nation­al­i­ty or affil­i­a­tion. Posthu­mous awards will be made only when knowl­edge of the awardee’s death is received after announce­ment of the Award Committee’s deci­sion. Nom­i­na­tions for the Award must be made before May 1, 2008 and should present the nominee’s qual­i­fi­ca­tions, accom­plish­ments and biog­ra­phy. A crit­i­cal eval­u­a­tion of the sig­nif­i­cance of pub­li­ca­tions and patents should be made as well as a state­ment of the par­tic­u­lar contribution(s)on which the nom­i­na­tion is based. Nom­i­na­tion doc­u­ments should be sub­mit­ted elec­tron­i­cal­ly to the Pres­i­dent of the Soci­ety in one com­plete pack­age along with no more than two sec­ond­ing let­ters.

All nom­i­na­tion pack­ages (one elec­tron­ic copy) for the Houdry Award should be should be sent to John Armor, Pres­i­dent, North Amer­i­can Catal­y­sis Soci­ety; at . Receipt of any nom­i­na­tion, will be con­firmed by an email mes­sage sent to each nom­i­na­tor.