Israel Wachs receives 2001 Clean Air Excellence Award

Professor Israel Wachs of Lehigh University’s Chemical Engineering Department has received a 2001 Clean Air Excellence Award. The EPA 2001 Clean Air Excellence Awards program honors outstanding, innovative efforts that help to make progress in achieving cleaner air. The research, sponsored by Georgia-Pacific Corp., has provided the pulp industry with a potentially profitable and innovative third alternative method of processing their waste gases. Using a new process and catalyst developed at Lehigh, the methyl alcohol and mercaptans can be converted to formaldehyde, a building-block chemical used for the adhesives, which find application in the plywood industry. [See www.pollutionengineering.com or N. Moretti’s article in Pollution Engineering, Jan. 2002, pp 24-28]. The waste gases are simply processed through a plant, which is similar in design to a conventional formaldehyde plant that utilizes commercial-grade methyl alcohol as a feed material. The novel environmentally benign process was conceptually developed and experimentally proven on a laboratory scale (see US Patent Nos. 5,907,066 and 6,198,005 B1 to I.E. Wachs/Lehigh University). The pilot plant studies were performed at Georgia-Pacific’s Brunswick, GA pulp mill on the real industrial waste streams.

The Clean Air Excellence Awards [http://www.epa.gov/oar/caaac/program.html] Program, sponsored by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA’s) Office of Air and Radiation, was established in 2000 at the recommendation of the Clean Air Act Advisory Committee (CAAAC). The CAAAC is a policy-level advisory group to the EPA. The Awards Program annually recognizes and honors outstanding, innovative efforts that help to make progress in achieving cleaner air.

The award criteria are: (1) the technology is commercially viable and can be widely applied, (2) the technology is cost-effective relative to other air pollution technologies that already exist and (3) the technology is developed at the prototype stage or beyond. In 2000, XononTM Cool Combustion System – Catalytica Combustion Systems, Inc. received an award for developing the XononTM Cool Combustion system to reduce nitrogen oxides by 90 percent. XononTM prevents the formation of nitrogen oxides before they can form and has been applied in Santa Clara, California in an industrial gas turbine.

In Memoriam: George C.A. Schuit (1910 – 2001)

George Schuit passed away peacefully on Sunday, December 9, 2001, at the blessed age of 91. He was a great scientist, an extremely friendly, generous, and inspiring person. After obtaining his PhD at the University of Leiden in 1938, George worked for 25 years at the Shell laboratories in Amsterdam, where he developed into one the pioneers of Dutch catalysis, and a leader of international stature. His research interests ranged from homogeneous to heterogeneous catalysis, from theoretical chemistry to spectroscopy, and from the molecular detail to the industrial application.

In 1961 he was appointed at the Eindhoven University of Technology to the chair of Inorganic Chemistry and Catalysis, as the first professor in catalysis in the Netherlands. He supervised 22 PhD students and many more Masters students. His major fields of research were selective oxidation, hydrodesulfurization, and nitrogen fixation. Beginning in the early 1970’s, George began to spend a significant fraction of his time at the University of Delaware, and after his retirement from Eindhoven in 1976, he strengthened his commitment to Delaware, where he was influential in the start-up of a fledgling catalysis program that led to the establishment of the university’s Center for Catalytic Science and Technology in 1978. In Delaware, George collaborated extensively in research with numerous faculty and students, helped to start a short course, and worked with Jim Katzer and Bruce Gates to write the textbook “Chemistry of Catalytic Processes.” An annual lectureship in George’s honor was established in 1985; for many years, George was the honored guest at this lecture.

In the course of the eighties George and his wife returned to The Netherlands where they settled in Nuenen, just outside Eindhoven. In these years he came regularly to seminars and symposia in the University, but hardly in the laboratory. Modest as he was, he did not want to be in anyone’s way. We would have loved to see him more often to benefit from his experience and perspectives!

In 1989 Rutger van Santen – after Roel Prins, the second successor in Catalysis, who proceeded George at Eindhoven – founded an institute of catalysis, which served as the nucleation point for the Netherlands Institute of Catalysis Research (NIOK). The Eindhoven branch became the Schuit Institute of Catalysis, employing approximately 100 scientists and students and featuring twice per year the Schuit Lecture in Catalysis, with prominent speakers from all over the world. The major specialization of the Schuit Institute is the molecular description of catalysis aided by spectroscopy and theory, which is the field in George Schuit was a pioneer. This theme is also strongly in evidence in the work of the Delaware center. We are proud that George’s name is forever connected with catalysis research at Eindhoven and Delaware.

We will remember him as a pioneer of our profession, a great scientist of international caliber, and a wonderful and warm person, and an intellectual leader in catalysis.
 
Bruce Gates and Hans Niemantsverdriet

New York Club’s Award for Excellence in Catalysis

2002 AWARD FOR EXCELLENCE IN CATALYSIS

Presented by The Catalysis Society of Metropolitan New York

REQUEST FOR NOMINATIONS

 
The Catalysis Society of Metropolitan New York is seeking nominations for its twenty-first annual “Award for Excellence in Catalysis.” The award, sponsored by ExxonMobil Research and Engineering Company, consists of a plaque and a $1,200 gift. It is granted to an individual or a research team from North America to recognize outstanding contributions in either applied or basic research in either homogeneous or heterogeneous catalysis. Particular effort is made to identify worthy individuals or teams who have not received sufficient recognition for their work.

This award will bring due recognition to the recipient(s), and we appreciate your help in seeking first-rate candidates. We especially need to fortify our active nomination list! Nominations are solicited from anyone who is currently, or has been previously, active in the field of catalysis. Nominations previously submitted as well as new ones will remain active for a period of three years.

Those wishing to submit a nomination should write a letter of recommendation for the individual nominee or team, including pertinent biographical information and a specific description of the impact of the nominee’s achievements in catalysis. The maximum length of the letter should be no more than two pages. It may be accompanied by copies of no more than two items presenting important documentation, such as papers or patents.

Deadline for receipt of nominations is January 18, 2002.

Past Recipients of the Award

  • 1982 J.A. Rabo (Union Carbide)
  • 1983 K. Klier (Lehigh)
  • 1984 W. Kaeding, et al (Mobil)
  • 1985 A. Vannice (U. of Pennsylvania)
  • 1986 J. Lunsford (Texas A&M)
  • 1987 F.J. Karol, et al (Union Carbide)
  • 1988 S.J. Tauster (Engelhard)
  • 1989 Bruce C. Gates (Delaware)
  • 1990 W. Keith Hall (Pittsburgh)
  • 1991 N.Y. Chen (Mobil)
  • 1992 H.S. Gandi (Ford)
  • 1993 Gary L. Haller (Yale)
  • 1994 James A. Dumesic (Wisconsin)
  • 1995 Gary McVicker (Exxon)
  • 1996 Israel Wachs (Lehigh)
  • 1997 John Newsam (Molecular Simulations Inc)
  • 1998 Terry Baker (Northeastern)
  • 1999 Shun Fung (Exxon)
  • 2000 Henry C. Foley (Delaware)
  • 2001 J.F. Brazdil, et al (BP Chemical)

2002 Spring Symposium

 
Catalysis Society of Metropolitan New York
Friday, April 26, 2002
Seton Hall University, South Orange, New Jersey
 
FIRST CALL FOR ABSTRACTS

The Catalysis Society of Metropolitan NY invites you to submit abstracts of papers for oral or poster presentation at the 2002 Spring Symposium. As a heading of the abstract please list the title, author(s) (underline the speaker) and affiliation. The length of the abstract should not exceed one page, single-spaced. Twenty minutes will be allotted for each oral presentation, followed by a ten-minute discussion period. Times will be strictly monitored so as to encourage a thorough discussion. In addition, two $125 awards will be given to the best student posters. All members are urged to reserve the date and participate in the Spring Symposium.

The deadline for receipt of abstracts is February 1, 2002. You will be notified of consideration for the Symposium by February 22, 2002.

Those submitting an award nomination and/or paper(s)/poster(s) for consideration for the Spring Symposium should send or e-mail them to:
 
David Calabro
ExxonMobil Research & Engineering
1545 Route 22 East
Annandale, NJ 08801
david.c.calabro@exxonmobil.com

Newly available Pilot Plant Facilities and Services

World-Class Pilot Plant Facilities and Services Now Available To Global Refining and Process Industries.

ChevronTexaco Global Technology Services Company (Globe Tech), an entity of ChevronTexaco Corporation and ITS Caleb Brett Corp., have entered into an agreement in October 2001 to provide clients in the refining and process industries use of Globe Tech’s pilot plant facility located in Richmond, California.

ChevronTexaco Corp., through Globe Tech, operates the pilot plant to evaluate catalysts in a variety of refinery processes. The adaptable and flexible design of the pilot plant offers the ability to test many other reaction-based processes. The facility features large-scale distillation capabilities, feedstock preparation and state-of-the-art infrastructure.

Through the agreement, ITS Caleb Brett offers and Globe Tech provides pilot plant capabilities for catalytic, reaction, separation, purification, batch scale, continuous process, fluidized catalytic cracking, fixed-bed catalytic processing, small scale synthesis, proof of concept, isothermal, adiabatic, liquid and gas recycling processes and more.

For More Information, please contact:
 
Erik Holladay
ITS Caleb Brett
Global Alliance Services
5051 Westheimer, Suite 1700
Houston, Texas 77056
Tel: 713.407.3500 USA
Email: eholladay@itscb.com
 
Steven Sciamanna
ChevronTexaco Global Technology Services Co.
100 Chevron Way
Richmond, CA 94802
Tel. 510.242.5075 USA
Email: sfsc@chevrontexaco.com
 
November 12, 2001
Richmond, California USA Houston, Texas USA Madrid, Spain

Nominations for Herman Pines Award

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 sponsored by UOP where Herman began his industrial career in 1930 and amassed 145 US patents over a 23 year period. The award is being co-sponsored by the Catalysis Club of Chicago of which Professor Pines was a founding member. The award will be presented annually at the Spring Symposium of the Catalysis Club of Chicago. The recipient will receive a cash award of $1,000 and reimbursement for travel and lodging as a plenary speaker at the Spring Symposium.

Past Herman Pines Award winners

  • 1999 Professor Harold Kung (Northwestern University)
  • 2000 Dr. John Monnier (Eastman Chemical Company)
  • 2001 Professor Lanny Schmidt (University of Minnesota)

A committee appointed by the Executive Committee of the Catalysis Club of Chicago will choose the recipient based on the following criteria:

  • Importance of catalysis research completed in the past five years.
  • Alternation of the award between industrial and academic/national laboratory researchers.
  • Recipient must be a resident of North America.

For the award to be given in 2002, nominations for AN INDUSTRIAL RESEARCHER are sought by December 31, 2001. Nominations should describe the specific work for which the nominee should be recognized. Please send your nomination either through Internet Nomination Form or directly via regular mail by the deadline to:
 
Dr. Paul T. Barger
President of the Chicago Catalysis Club
UOP Research Center
50 East Algonquin Road
Des Plaines, IL 60017-5016
ptbarger@uop.com (E-mail)
(847) 391-3729 (Phone)
(847) 391-3724 (Fax)
 
The recipient will be notified in February of 2002, and the award address will take place at the Spring Symposium in May of 2002.

Multiple ACS Awards for Catalysis Research

Once again, several of the 2002 ACS awards were given to those working in catalysis.

ACS Award for Creative Research in Homogeneous or Heterogeneous Catalysis sponsored by Shell Oil Foundation, Jack H. Lunsford, Texas A&M University. …for innovative applications of spectroscopic techniques to the characterization of solid catalysts and to the elucidation of catalytic reaction mechanisms.

ACS Award in Industrial Chemistry, Bipin V. Vora, UOP, LLC, Des Plaines, IL. …for contributions to breakthrough technologies in key petrochemical industries and for your leadership in two major commercial developments: new selective process for the production of propylene and isobutylene by catalytic dehydrogenation and new catalytic processes critical for the production of linear alkyl benzene based detergents.

Arthur W. Adamson Award for Distinguished Service in the Advancement of Surface Chemistry sponsored by Occidental Petroleum Corporation, D. Wayne Goodman,Texas A&M University. …for his innovative research that has helped bridge the gap between surface science and catalysis, and for his leadership role in a large number of councils that have significantly influenced the direction of surface chemistry.

Earle B. Barnes Award for Leadership in Chemical Research Management sponsored by The Dow Chemical Company, to Kurt W. Swogger, The Dow Chemical Company, Polyolefins and Elastomers Research and Development, Freeport, TX. …for his leadership in the development and commercialization of Dow INSITE*Technology which profoundly changed the course and growth of the global polyolefin industry.

Arthur C. Cope Award sponsored by the Arthur C. Cope Fund, Robert H. Grubbs, California Institute of Technology. …for his invention of new transition metal catalysts that have made a major impact on the fields of organic chemistry and materials science.

Arthur C. Cope Scholar Awards sponsored by the Arthur C. Cope Fund, Xumu Zhang, The Pennsylvania State University; …for his invention of a toolbox of chiral ligands and his development of homogeneous catalysts that enable practical syntheses of many chiral molecules, especially ones having biological significance.

E. V. Murphree Award in Industrial and Engineering Chemistry sponsored by ExxonMobil Research and Engineering Company and ExxonMobil Chemical Company, George R. Lester, Allied Signal, Inc. (retired). …for his extraordinary contributions to catalytic science and technology and especially for his innovations in environmental control catalysts for automobiles, turbine engines and work places.

George A. Olah Award in Hydrocarbon or Petroleum Chemistry sponsored by the George A. Olah Endowment, Gary B. McVicker, ExxonMobil Research and Engineering Company. …for his many contributions to the fundamental understanding of the catalytic transformations of petroleum derived hydrocarbons.

Value of Catalysis

In the Introduction to a new book, the importance of catalysis is nicely summarized:

In 1993, the worldwide use of catalysts amounted to $8.7 billion, with $3.1 billion for chemicals, $3 billion for environmental, $1.8 billion for petroleum refining, and $0.8 billion for industrial biocatalysis. In the USA, the total demand for catalysts was $2.4 billion in 1995 and is forecast to rise to $2.9 billion in 2000.

In addition, the economic importance of catalysis is enormous:

  • Catalysis is critical to the production of 30 of the top 50 commodity chemicals produced in the USA.
  • Nearly 90% of all US chemical manufacturing processes involve catalysis.
  • $200 to $1000 worth of products are manufactured for every $1 worth of catalyst consumed.
  • The value of US goods produced using catalytic processes is estimated at 17-30% of the US GNP.
  • There is a huge societal benefit of catalysis for environmental protection, since emission control catalysts are a significant sector of the market.

 
Source of compiled remarks: Catalyst Design, by M. Morbidelli, A. Gavriilidis, and A. Varma, Cambridge University Press, New York, 2001.

Canadian Catalysis Lectureship Award 2001 – Dr. Marten Ternan

The Canadian Catalysis Foundation is pleased to announce that Dr. Marten Ternan is the winner of the 2001 Canadian Catalysis Lectureship Award. He is currently working with a team at the University of Ottawa (Bourgault, Conway, and Psofogiannakis) on modeling direct hydrocarbon fuel cells using computational fluid dynamics. The award consists of an honorarium along with funding so that the winner can provide a series of lectures across Canada. The Canadian Catalysis Lectureship Award is made to a researcher who is recognized as a leader in a particular field of catalysis, or someone who has just completed a new and interesting/controversial piece of work that is not widely recognized. It is restricted to Canadians who are currently working in Canada in the area of catalysis, and is intended to provide exposure to Canadian scientists and engineers.

Professor Smirniotis recieves award

Dr. Peter Smirniotis (Chem. Eng. Dept., Univ. of Cincinnati) received the BP Faculty Excellence Award for 2000-2001. This newly created award was presented by Mr. Jon Radabaugh, Catalyst Product Manager of BP.

Catalysis is focus of 2001 Nobel Prize in Chemistry

The Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences has decided to award the Nobel Prize
in Chemistry for 2001 for the development of catalytic asymmetric synthesis, with one half jointly to:

William S. Knowles (St Louis, Missouri, USA) and Ryoji Noyori (Nagoya University, Chikusa, Nagoya, Japan) “for their work on chirally catalysed hydrogenation reactions” and the other half to K. Barry Sharpless (the Scripps Research Institute, La Jolla, California, USA) “for his work on chirally catalysed oxidation reactions”.

Mirror Image Catalysis

 
Many molecules appear in two forms that mirror each other – just as our hands mirror each other. Such molecules are called chiral. In nature one of these forms is often dominant, so in our cells one of these mirror images of a molecule fits “like a glove”, in contrast to the other one which may even be harmful. Pharmaceutical products often consist of chiral molecules, and the difference between the two forms can be a matter of life and death – as was the case, for example, in the thalidomide disaster in the 1960s. That is why it is vital to be able to produce the two chiral forms separately.

This year’s Nobel Laureates in Chemistry have developed molecules that can catalyse important reactions so that only one of the two mirror image forms is produced. The catalyst molecule, which itself is chiral, speeds up the reaction without being consumed. Just one of these molecules can produce millions of molecules of the desired mirror image form.

William S. Knowles discovered that it was possible to use transition metals to make chiral catalysts for an important type of reaction called hydrogenation, thereby obtaining the desired mirror image form as the final product. His research quickly led to an industrial process for the production of the L-DOPA drug which is used in the treatment of Parkinson’s disease. Ryoji Noyori has led the further development of this process to today’s general chiral catalysts for hydrogenation.

K. Barry Sharpless, on the other hand, is awarded half of the Prize for developing chiral catalysts for another important type of reaction – oxidation.

The Laureates have opened up a completely new field of research in which it is possible to synthesise molecules and material with new properties. Today the results of their basic research are being used in a number of industrial syntheses of pharmaceutical products such as antibiotics, anti-inflammatory drugs and heart medicines.

William S. Knowles, 84 years, born 1917 (US citizen). PhD 1942 at Columbia University. Previously at Monsanto Company, St Louis, USA. Retired since 1986.

Ryoji Noyori, 63 years, born 1938 Kobe, Japan (Japanese citizen). PhD 1967 at Kyoto University. Since 1972 Professor of Chemistry at Nagoya University and since 2000 Director of the Research Center for Materials Science, Nagoya University, Nagoya, Japan (http://www-noyori.os.chem.nagoya-u.ac.jp).

K. Barry Sharpless, 60 years, born 1941 Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA (US citizen). PhD 1968 at Stanford University. Since 1990 W.M. Keck Professor of Chemistry at the Scripps Research Institute, La Jolla, USA (http://www.scripps.edu/chem/sharpless/kbs.html).