Xile Hu, Professor at Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne has been selected as the recipient of the 2015 EFCATS Young Researchers Award


We are pleased to announce that the recipient of the 2015 EFCATS Young Researchers Award, sponsored by BASF and administered by the European Federation of Catalysis Societies is Xile Hu, Professor at the Institute of Chemical Sciences and Engineering of the Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne. The Award will be presented at Europacat XII (Kazan, Russia, August 2015).

This Award recognizes individual contributions in the field of catalysis with emphasis on theoretical or experimental discovery and understanding of new catalysts and catalytic processes, synthesis and catalytic function of novel inorganic solids and complexes, mechanisms of reactions, deactivation phenomena.

Professor Hu is being specifically recognized for his original contributions in the development of cost-effective inorganic catalysts for water splitting reactions and well-defined organometallic catalysts for organic synthesis. His research group is unifying concepts and methods in heterogeneous, homogeneous, and enzyme catalysis to obtain fundamental understanding of catalysis and novel catalysts with superior properties to those in current use. They discovered amorphous molybdenum sulfides as a new class of efficient hydrogen evolution catalysts, and obtained benchmark performance in sunlight-driven hydrogen production utilizing these catalysts. They pioneered the use of single-layered metal oxides as exceptional oxygen evolution catalysts. They developed nickel and iron coordination complexes that have widespread applications in cross coupling reactions. They merged coordination chemistry with chemical biology to obtain molecular-level mechanistic insights of [Fe]-hydrogenase.

Iacovos Vasalos, Professor Emeritus of the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki and Emeritus Director of CPERI has been selected as the recipient of the 2015 EFCATS Applied Catalysis Award

vasalosWe are pleased to announce that the recipient of the 2015 EFCATS Applied Catalysis Award, sponsored by BP and administered by the European Federation of Catalysis Societies, is Iacovos Vasalos, Professor at the Chemical Engineering Department of the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki (1979-2005) and Emeritus Researcher at the Chemical Process and Energy Resources Institute, Centre for Research and Technology Hellas. The Award will be presented at Europacat XII  (Kazan, Russia, August 2015).  

This Award recognizes and encourages individual contributions, which demonstrate excellence, scientific novelty, technical achievements in development and scale-up, interdisciplinary teamwork between scientists and engineers and clearly show emphasis on actual or potential commercial application.

Professor Vasalos, whose leader- and mentorship were crucial for creating the Chemical Process and Energy Resources Institute (CPERI) and were setting the example for establishing several other research institutes, is being specifically recognized for his seminal contributions in the Chemical Engineering of Catalysis. This includes fluidized bed catalytic science and technology, with an emphasis on Fluid Catalytic Cracking (FCC), which were critical in developing and maintaining this industrial process as the primary technology for the production of motor gasoline. His team developed key technology for the evaluation of the activity and deactivation of FCC catalysts in pilot scale, a technology that is used today by over 35 refineries worldwide with significant cost savings. Together they also developed a widely applied technology to control sulfur oxide emissions from FCC regenerators through lifelong study based on a thorough understanding of the formation and control of sulfur and nitrogen emissions during FCC operations. Similarly impressive were recent contributions to the understanding and development of improved chemistry for producing chemical feedstocks from more sustainable bio-based feed sources, which he initiated at the Chemical Process and Energy Resources Institute (CPERI).

Klaas Jan Schouten, graduated from Leiden University has been selected as the recipient of the 2015 EFCATS Best PhD Thesis Award

schoutenWe are pleased to announce that Dr. Klaas Jan Schouten, who has graduated from Leiden University, The Netherlands, and was guided by Prof. Marc Koper is the recipient of the 2015 EFCATS Best PhD Award, administered by the European Federation of Catalysis Societies. The Award will be presented at Europacat XII (Kazan, Russia, August 2015).  

This Award recognizes the best PhD Thesis in the field of catalysis with emphasis on theoretical or experimental discovery and understanding. Dr. Schouten is being specifically recognized for his work on the electrocatalytic CO2 reduction on Cu electrodes. Dr. Klaas Jan Schouten has suggested a new mechanism for this reaction, and has verified this mechanism through extensive measurements on single-crystal copper electrodes. This reaction was discovered by Hori in the 1980s and is currently under renewed scrutiny as a possible way to fix CO2 electrochemically. Schouten’s mechanism emphasizes the important role of the structure of the copper surface and the pH of the electrolyte, and in particular his work has shown that two different pathways exist for the formation of methane and ethylene, where the formation of ethylene takes place preferentially through the dimerization of carbon monoxide on the Cu(100) surface at high pH. In the meanwhile, this important but unusual reaction step has been confirmed by first-principles density functional theory calculations.  Schouten’s mechanism is the basis for further improvement of copper and derived catalysts for the electrochemical conversion of CO2. Dr. Klaas Jan Schouten currently works at Avantium Chemicals in Amsterdam, the Netherlands, as a junior researcher.

Francois Gault Lectureship Award 2015 -  Nominations

The Francois Gault Lectureship aims to recognize a body of outstanding contributions by individuals in all fields of catalysis ranging from theory to experiment and from fundamental to applied research.  The Awardee will be selected based on con­tri­bu­tions to the cat­alytic lit­er­a­ture and on the impact on the theory and practice of catalysis.

The François Gault Lectureship Award is given every two years. The Awardee is expected to lecture at National Meetings across Europe between the two biennial EUROPACAT meetings. The award con­sists of a plaque and an hon­o­rar­ium of EUR 5,000. It will be pre­sented at the EUROPACAT meet­ing, where the respec­tive cita­tions are read and the award win­ner receive the plaque.

The candidates for the François Gault Lectureship are nominated individually or through the national societies inside or outside Europe.The jury that selects the recip­i­ent con­sists of sci­en­tists well recognized in the catalysis community. The selec­tion jury is appointed by the EFCATS president, who is advised by the EFCATS board.

Nominations for the Award should include: (i) the nomination letter (max. 1000 words), in which the achievements and impact of the candidate are described; (ii) up to two recommendation letters (max. 800 words) and (iii) a cur­ricu­lum vitae, includ­ing rel­e­vant posi­tions and recog­ni­tions and a list of pub­li­ca­tions and patents.

Nomination documents should be submitted in one single PDF file to the President and Secretary of EFCATS before July 30, 2015

Hajo Freund of the Fritz Haber Institute has been selected as the recipient of the 2015 Michel Boudart Award for the Advancement of Catalysis

hajo_freundWe are pleased to announce that Professor Hans Joachim Freund of the Fritz Haber Institute is the recipient of the 2015 Michel Boudart for the Advancement of Catalysis, sponsored by the Haldor Top-søe Company and administered jointly by the North American Catalysis Society and the European Fed-eration of Catalysis Societies. The Award will be presented at the 24th North American Meeting of the Catalysis Society (Pittsburgh, June 2015) and at Europacat XII (Kazan, Russia, August 2015).
This 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 is meant to recognize individuals who bring together the rigor and the international impact that exemplified the accomplish-ments and the career of Professor Michel Boudart.
Professor Hajo Freund is being specifically recognized for his groundbreaking experimental advances in understanding elementary steps of reactions on catalytic surfaces and for his studies bridging relevant catalysis and surface reactions at single crystal surfaces through the use of novel model catalysts with well-controlled structural features. His research group has synthesized a broad range of relevant mate-rials, such as oxides of Al, Si, Ce, Ca, and V, useful as active materials or supports, with geometric and electronic structures, including surface defects, probed at the atomic level using tunneling and atomic force microscopy techniques. His work has established the state-of-the-art in new techniques and instrumentation and in the use of relevant model systems to establish mechanistic pathways and struc-tural and electronic requirements in heterogeneous catalysis. One example involves the first imple-mentation of electron spin resonance to single crystals, which has enabled the monitoring of the for-mation and reactions of radical species derived from adsorbates and metal nanoparticles on well-defined surfaces. His studies of supported metal nanoparticles (Pd, Au) have led to unprecedented insights into how supports influence the geometric and electronic properties and how dopants influ-ence the binding properties of such nanoparticles, even when dopants reside below support surfaces, through dopant-induced polarons that strongly influence oxygen activation. Recently, his group suc-cessfully prepared hexagonal SiO2 double layers, which allowed the first direct observation of the atomic structure of amorphous silica using tunneling and atomic force microscopy and the synthesis of a two-dimensional zeolite with bridging hydroxyl structures, such as those present in chabazite frame-works.
Enrique Iglesia
President, North American Catalysis Society
Johannes Lercher
President, European Federation of Catalysis Societies

che_faraday_medalProf. Michel Che, University of Paris VI: Pierre et Marie Curie was awarded the prestigious Royal Society of Chemistry's Faraday Lectureship Prize, and received the Faraday medal in a ceremony in Cardiff.

As part of the award Prof. Michel Che was invited to give a series of lectures in the UK.

On Monday 26th January Professor Michel Che of the Universite Pierre et Marie Curie-Paris 6 & Institut Universitaire de France gave his 2014 Faraday Lecture at the School of Chemistry, Cardiff University, UK. The title of his lecture was "Relevance of Geochemistry to the Life of a Catalyst: When Fire Meets Water." After the lecture Professor Che was presented with his Faraday Medal by Professor Graham Hutchings, who is the current president of the Faraday Division of the Royal Society of Chemistry.



-> Awards


Helmut Knözinger (1935-2014)

Helmut Knözinger passed away at his home in Munich on January 12, 2014. The catalysis community lost a contributor of outstanding science, and also a leader in various organizations, editor, and valued collaboration partner.

Knözinger studied Physics at Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München. The subject of his dissertation, which was supervised by Georg-Maria Schwab, was the catalytic decomposition of methyl formate. He accomplished the Habilitation (1967) with a thesis on the dehydration of ethanol on alumina, a material that would later be the subject of his most cited article. Knözinger held various academic positions at Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München, with an interlude as a guest professor at the Universidad Central de Caracas, Venezuela (1968/69), before he became Professor (1980). He remained at his alma mater until his retirement in 2000, after which he continued as a researcher and editor.

Knözinger’s research covered many different areas of catalysis, and he excelled at developing and applying spectroscopic methods for the characterization of catalysts. He made significant contributions to the characterization of acid-base properties of oxidic materials, by analyzing OH groups with IR spectroscopy, by extensively using carbon monoxide as a probe, and by evaluating much needed probe molecules for basic surface properties. He was also interested in supported oxides, which he characterized by Raman, UV-vis, and photoelectron spectroscopy. To explore the mechanism of dispersion of oxides on oxides, he engaged in a long-lasting collaboration with the Max Planck Institute for Plasma Physics in Garching. As a result, thin film model catalysts were developed and investigated by surface science techniques such as ion scattering and Auger electron spectroscopy.

Helmut Knözinger’s work was recognized with national and international awards including the Ciapetta Lectureship, the Ipatieff Lectureship, the Max-Planck Research Award, the Prix Gay Lussac Humboldt Prize, and the Alwin Mittasch Medal of Dechema. He was an honorary member of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences, a member of the Academia Europaea, and honorary professor of Nankai University, Tianjin, China.

Helmut Knözinger was a member of chemical and catalysis societies, among them EUROCAT and EFCATS, and helped organize national and international conferences on catalysis. He also acted as president of the International Association of Catalysis Societies. Together with Gerhard Ertl and Jens Weitkamp (and later Ferdi Schüth), Helmut Knözinger formed the team of editors of the highly successful Handbook of Heterogeneous Catalysis. He also edited Advances in Catalysis together with Bruce Gates for more than a decade.

While Knözinger remained rooted in Munich throughout his career, he cultivated collaborations and exchange. He was an avid traveler and held guest professorships in Caracas, Xianmen, Evanston, Amsterdam, and Paris. Researchers from around the world visited his laboratory, often to use his specially designed apparatus. Visitors were welcomed into the group and treated with Bavarian hospitality.

As an advisor, he was a role model with respect to reliability and self-discipline. His interest in everybody’s research was manifest in his daily afternoon rounds through the labs. His mentoring was gentle, and he promoted independent thinking. A significant number of students graduated with a doctoral degree under his guidance. Helmut Knözinger had been a gifted athlete in his youth and was a mountain enthusiast; he instigated regular group outings – hiking in summer and skiing in winter. He was also a talented photographer, and the images displayed in his office spoke of his skill, of his travels around the world, and his eye as an observer.

Helmut Knözinger’s presence and his views will be missed.

Friederike Jentoft



Klaas Jan Schouten, graduated from Leiden University has been selected as the recipient of the 2015 EFCATS Best PhD Thesis Award

© DECHEMA e.V. 1995-2015, Last update 25.08.2015