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.
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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.
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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.