Professor Bert Weckhuysen is the recipient of the 2011 Paul H. Emmett Award in Fundamental Catalysis

Pro­fes­sor Bert Weck­huy­sen of the Debye Insti­tute for Nano­ma­te­ri­als Sci­ence of Utrecht Uni­ver­si­ty (The Nether­lands) is the recip­i­ent of the 2011 Paul H. Emmett Award in Fun­da­men­tal Catal­y­sis, spon­sored by the Grace Davi­son oper­at­ing seg­ment of 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 22nd North Amer­i­can Meet­ing of the Catal­y­sis Soci­ety to be held in Detroit, Michi­gan on June 5–10, 2011. Pro­fes­sor Weck­huy­sen will present a ple­nary lec­ture dur­ing this 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.

Pro­fes­sor Weck­huy­sen is being rec­og­nized for his pio­neer­ing devel­op­ment and use of in-situ spec­tro­scop­ic meth­ods to probe solids at the microm­e­ter and nanome­ter scale dur­ing their acti­va­tion and their func­tion as cat­a­lysts. These stud­ies have led to fun­da­men­tal insights into the dis­tri­b­u­tion of active sites and the mech­a­nism of mol­e­c­u­lar dif­fu­sion and deac­ti­va­tion phe­nom­e­na in zeo­lite and Fis­ch­er-Trop­sch cat­a­lysts. Specif­i­cal­ly, spa­tial het­ero­geneities in activ­i­ty, selec­tiv­i­ty and cok­ing with­in indi­vid­ual ZSM‑5 zeo­lite crys­tals were detect­ed using a nov­el com­bi­na­tion of micro-spec­troscopy and rate data and inter­pret­ed in terms of com­plex but broad­ly applic­a­ble zeo­lite inter­growth mod­els direct­ly rel­e­vant to mol­e­c­u­lar dif­fu­sion and to meso­poros­i­ty gen­er­a­tion dur­ing syn­the­sis. In oth­er stud­ies, X‑ray microscopy com­bined with an in-situ reac­tor led to unprece­dent­ed details of nanoscale process­es involved in Fis­ch­er-Trop­sch syn­the­sis, espe­cial­ly as they per­tain to the dynam­ic evo­lu­tion and the cat­alyt­ic rel­e­vance of the var­i­ous inor­gan­ic and organ­ic phas­es formed dur­ing catal­y­sis.