Author Archives: Carl Menning

Ciapetta Award Lecture: Novel Zeolite Catalysts for Diesel Emission Applications

Meeting Program – January 2017

Ahmad Moini
Ahmad Moini
BASF Corporation


Abstract – Automotive exhaust conditions present unique challenges for the design of effective catalysts. In addition to the need for catalytic activity over a wide temperature range, the catalyst must show durability towards extreme hydrothermal aging conditions. The use of zeolitic materials under such conditions is especially challenging due to the vulnerability of zeolites to steam aging. The BASF discovery of the Cu-CHA catalyst for selective catalytic reduction (SCR) of NOx demonstrated an effective balance between favorable active sites and zeolite framework durability. It also paved the way for the implementation of urea SCR as the key approach for NOx reduction in diesel vehicles. This presentation will highlight the development of Cu-CHA as the leading technology for diesel emission applications. Specific focus will be placed on the synthesis and structural features of the zeolite. In addition, there will be a discussion of specific characterization and modeling approaches focusing on the unique attributes of the metal active sites and the interaction of these metal species with the zeolite framework.

Biography – Dr. Ahmad Moini is a Research Fellow at BASF Corporation in Iselin, NJ. He obtained his Ph.D. in Chemistry from Texas A&M University, and held a postdoctoral appointment at Michigan State University. Dr. Moini started his career at Mobil Research & Development Corporation (now ExxonMobil), where he conducted research on microporous materials. With a focus on exploratory zeolite synthesis, he studied the mechanism of zeolite crystallization and the role of specific classes of organic directing agents in the formation of various zeolite frameworks. He joined Engelhard Corporation (now BASF) in 1996. Since then, his primary research interests have been in the area of materials synthesis, directed at a range of catalytic and functional applications. He applied high throughput methods for the synthesis and evaluation of catalytic materials, and used these tools for the development of new products. A significant part of his work has been directed towards catalysts for environmental applications. These efforts, in collaboration with the extended BASF team, led to the discovery and development of Cu-CHA catalyst for selective catalytic reduction (SCR) of NOx from diesel vehicles. He holds 48 US patents relating to various aspects of materials and catalyst development.

Unraveling Catalytic Mechanisms and Kinetics: Lessons from Electrical Networks

Meeting Program – November 2016

Ravindra Datta
Professor Ravindra Datta
Professor in the Department of Chemical Engineering,
Fuel Cell Center,
Worchester Polytechnic Institute


Abstract – Catalytic reaction networks, in general, comprise of multiple steps and pathways. While one can now readily predict kinetics of these molecular steps from first principles, there is not yet available a comprehensive framework for: 1) visualizing and analyzing these reaction networks in their full complexity; and 2) unequivocally identifying the germane steps and pathways.

Thus, we have developed an approach called the “Reaction Route (RR) Graph” approach, which allows: 1) direct enumeration of all the pathways as walks on the RR Graph; 2) thermodynamic consistence of step kinetics; 3) elucidation of dominant pathways that contribute materially to the overall flux; 4) identification of bottleneck steps in each of these pathways; and 5) development of explicit rate laws based on the electrical analogy.

The electrical network analogy is based on two aspects of RR Graphs, namely: 1) quasi-steady state (QSS) mass balance of intermediate species, the equivalent of the Kirchhoff’s Current Law (KCL) of electrical circuits; and 2) Hess’s law, or thermodynamic consistence, the equivalent of the Kirchhoff’s Potential Law (KPL), which makes RR Graphs precisely equivalent to electrical networks. Further, we define the step resistance in terms of step kinetics to make the analogy complete. The approach is described with the help of the water-gas shift example.

Biography – Ravi Datta is Professor of Chemical Engineering and Director of WPI Fuel Cell Center. He obtained his Ph.D. degree from the University of California, Santa Barbara, in 1981. From then until 1998, he was a Professor of Chemical Engineering at the University of Iowa, when he moved to WPI, and served as Chemical Engineering Department Head until 2005. Ravi’s research is focused on catalytic and electrocatalytic reaction engineering of Clean Energy, including, fuel cells, hydrogen, renewable fuels, novel catalysts, and catalytic reaction networks. He is a coauthor of 150 papers and 8 patents, and has been a mentor to 25 doctoral students.

Development of heterogeneous catalysts for the production of biomass-derived chemicals by selective C-O hydrogenolysis and deoxydehydration

Meeting Program – October 2016

Keiichi Tomishige
Keiichi Tomishige
Professor in the School of Engineering,
Tohoku University


Keiichi Tomishige

Abstract – Chemical composition of the feedstock from biomass and biomass-based building blocks has much higher oxygen contents than that from crude oil. It has been known that the target products such as monomers for the polymer synthesis have comparatively lower oxygen content, and the methodology for the decrease of the oxygen content is more and more important. One of effective methods is the utilization of the hydrogenolysis of C-O bonds in the substrates. For example, C3-C6 sugar alcohols (glycerol, erythritol, xylitol, and sorbitol) are also regarded as promising building blocks in the biomass refinery. If the selective hydrogenolysis of the target C-O bond among various kinds of the C-O bonds is possible, valuable chemicals such as diols, mono-ols, alkanes can be produced from biomass in high yield. ReOx-modified Ir metal catalyst (Ir-ReOx) is reported to be effective to the selective hydrogenolysis of polyols and cyclic ethers in water solvent. Ir-ReOx/SiO2 catalyzes the hydrogenolysis of glycerol to 1,3-propanediol. The hydrogenolysis of erythritol over the catalyst produces 1,4- and 1,3-butanediols. The selective hydrogenolysis of tetrahydrofurfuryl alcohol to 1,5-pentanediol also proceeds using Ir-ReOx/SiO2. In addition, the combination of Ir-ReOx/SiO2 with H-ZSM-5 gives n-alkanes and hexanols from cellulose, sugars, and sugar alcohols in high yield with the total C-O hydrogenolysis and without C-C bond dissociation and skeletal isomerization. Another interesting catalyst is ReOx-Pd/CeO2. The catalyst showed excellent performance for simultaneous hydrodeoxygenation of vicinal OH groups in various substrates. High yield (>99%), turnover frequency, and turnover number were obtained in the reaction of 1,4-anhydroerythritol to tetrahydrofuran. This catalyst is also applicable to the conversion of sugar alcohols mono-alcohols and diols are obtained in high yields from substrates with even and odd numbers of OH groups, respectively. In addition, ReOx-Au/CeO2 catalyzed the conversion of glycerol and erythritol to allyl alcohol and 1,3-butadiene in high yield (91% and 81%), respectively.

Biography – Keiichi Tomishige received his B.S., M.S. and Ph.D. from Graduate School of Science, Department of Chemistry, The University of Tokyo with Prof. Y. Iwasawa. During his Ph.D. course in 1994, he moved to Graduate School of Engineering, The University of Tokyo as a research associate and worked with Prof. K. Fujimoto. In 1998, he became a lecturer, and then he moved to Institute of Materials Science, University of Tsukuba as a lecturer in 2001. Since 2004 he has been an associate professor, Graduate School of Pure and Applied Sciences, University of Tsukuba. Since 2010, he is a professor, School of Engineering, Tohoku University.
His research interests are the development of heterogeneous catalysts for

  1. production of biomass-derived chemicals
  2. direct synthesis of organic carbonates from CO2 and alcohols
  3. steam reforming of biomass tar
  4. syngas production by natural gas reforming

He is Associate Editor of Fuel Processing Technology (2014/2-), Editorial board of Applied Catalysis A:General (2009/4-), Editorial advisory board of ACS Catalysis (2013/11-), International Advisory Board of ChemSusChem (2015/1-) and Advisory Board of Green Chemistry(2016/8-).

In Silico Prediction of Materials for Energy Applications

Meeting Program – September 2016

Dion Vlachos
Dion Vlachos
Elizabeth Inez Kelley Professor of Chemical
& Biomolecular Engineering and Professor of Physics,
University of Delaware

Abstract – In this talk, the need for new materials in various energy domains will be discussed. Multiscale simulation will then briefly be introduced as an enabling technology to address diverse engineering topics. A specific application of multiscale simulation is the prediction of macroscopic behavior from first principles. A more impactful avenue of research is how one could use multiscale modeling in reverse engineering for predicting new materials for production of energy and chemicals and energy storage. We will demonstrate how descriptor-based modeling can enable such a search of novel materials with emergent behavior and assess this framework with experiments. An outstanding question is how reliable and robust are model predictions in comparing to data and our quest for searching new materials. We will demonstrate this methodology for the specific example of ammonia decomposition for hydrogen production for fuel cells and briefly touch upon renewable chemicals and fuels from lignocellulosic biomass.
Biography – Dionisios (Dion) G. Vlachos is the Elizabeth Inez Kelley Professor of Chemical & Biomolecular Engineering and Professor of Physics at the University of Delaware and the Director of the Catalysis Center for Energy Innovation (CCEI), an Energy Frontier Research Center (EFRC) funded by the Department of Energy (DOE). He obtained a five-year diploma in Chemical Engineering from the National Technical University of Athens, Greece in 1987, his M.S. and Ph.D. from the University of Minnesota in 1990 and 1992 respectively, and spent a postdoctoral year at the Army High Performance Computing Research Center in Minnesota. After that, Dr. Vlachos joined the University of Massachusetts as an assistant professor, was promoted to an associate professor in 1998 and joined the University of Delaware in 2000. He was a visiting fellow at Princeton University in the spring of 2000, a visiting faculty member at Thomas Jefferson University and Hospital in the spring of 2007 and the George Pierce Distinguished Professor of Chemical Engineering and Materials Science at the University of Minnesota in the fall of 2007.

Professor Vlachos is the recipient of the R. H. Wilhelm Award in Chemical Reaction Engineering from AIChE and is an AAAS Fellow. He also received a NSF Career Award and an Office of Naval Research Young Investigator Award. He is a member of AIChE, ACS, the Combustion Institute, MRS, the North American Catalysis Society (NACS) and the Society for Industrial and Applied Mathematics (SIAM).

Dr. Vlachos’ main research thrust is multiscale modeling and simulation along with their application to catalysis, crystal growth, portable microchemical devices for power generation, production of renewable fuels and chemicals, catalyst informatics, detailed and reduced kinetic model development and process intensification. He is the corresponding author of more than 340 refereed publications with nearly 10,000 citations and has given over 200 plenary lectures, keynote lectures and other invited talks. Professor Vlachos has served as an executive editor of the Chemical Engineering Science journal and also served or currently serves on the editorial advisory board of ACS Catalysis, Reaction Chemistry & Engineering, Industrial and Engineering Chemistry Research, Applied Catalysis A: General, Proceedings of the Combustion Institute, the Open Energy and Fuels Journal, the Journal of Nano Energy and Power Research and the Journal of Chemical Engineering & Process Technology.

Prof. Dion Vlachos is the Winner of the 2016 Catalysis Club of Philadelphia Award

Dion VlachosThe Catalysis Club of Philadelphia is pleased to announce Prof. Dion Vlachos as the recipient of the 2016 Catalysis Club of Philadelphia Award, in recognition of his long-standing creative technical contributions, both theoretical and experimental; advancing the understanding of the molecular basis of heterogeneous catalysis of complex systems; and his leadership role at the Catalysis Center for Energy Innovation and Center for Catalytic Science and Technology.

Prof. Vlachos received his PhD form the Chemical Engineering and Materials Science Department, University of Minnesota, where he studied the structures and dynamics of adsorbed phases and crystal surfaces. He joined the Chemical Engineering Department at the University of Massachusetts in 1993 as an Assistant Professor and in 1998 became an Associate Professor at the department. In 2000, Dion joined the Department of Engineering at the University of Delaware, where he currently holds a position as Elizabeth Inez Kelley Professor of Chemical Engineering.

Dion has pioneered the work on development of multi-scale modeling and applying this approach to technologically important problems in energy, catalysis, biomass conversion, nanotechnology and cellular engineering. His research has been adopted by chemical industry in companies, such as ConocoPhillips, Praxair, and Rohm and Haas, for chemical processes design and emissions reduction.

Dion’s research of biomass conversion, specifically catalytic transformation of sugars into fuels and chemicals, helped to advance the understanding of sugar chemistry. His work on the elucidation of active species in HCl/CrCl3 involved in sugar transformations resulted in a high impact publication with a record number of citations. His theoretical study of Sn-Beta catalyst for glucose isomerization has found the active form of tin in the zeolite and revealed the importance of neighboring silanol groups for the selectivity of the isomerization reaction. Dion’s theoretical work was later confirmed experimentally by Davis group in Caltech.

As the founder and director of the Catalysis Center for Energy Innovation (CCEI), Dion has shown an outstanding leadership and obtained $29.5M in funding over nine years. Through CCEI, he helped to nurture collaborations between research groups from leading academic institutions. CCEI focuses on the development of new catalysis and processes for biomass conversion to fuel and chemicals.

Dion has published over 340 scientific papers, which collectively have over 9400 citations. In the past few years, he has been publishing over 30 research papers per year, which makes Dion one of the most productive catalysis researchers.

Please join us in congratulating Dion on receiving the 2016 Catalysis Club of Philadelphia award.

Past Recipients of the Award

1968 Adalbert Farkas
1969 Charles J. Plank
1970 Paul H. Emmett
1971 G. Alex Mills
1972 Alfred E. Hirschler
1973 Paul B. Weisz
1974 Roland C. Hansford
1975 Paul Venuto
1976 Heinz Heinemann
1977 G.C.A. Schuit
1978 George W. Parshall
1979 Alvin B. Stiles
1980 Abraham Schneider
1981 James F. Roth
1982 Robert Eischens
1983 Edward Rosinski
1984 James R. Katzer
1985 N.Y. Chen
1986 Bruce C. Gates
1987 James E. Lyons
1988 George Kokotailo
1989 Maurice Mitchell, Jr.
1990 Werner O. Haag
1991 John A. Sofranko
1992 Fran Waller
1993 George Kerr
1994 Theodore A. Koch
1995 John N. Armor
1996 Mae Rubin
1997 Leo E. Manzer
1998 Ray Gorte
1999 Anne M. Gaffney
2000 Henry C. Foley
2001 Mark Barteau
2002 Steven D. Ittel
2003 Frank E. Herkes
2004 Jingguang Chen
2005 Israel Wachs
2006 James Dumesic
2007 John Vohs
2008 David Olson
2009 Ted Oyama
2010 Chuck Coe
2011 Chunshan Song
2012 Rostam Madon
2013 Daniel Resasco
2014 Haiying Chen
2015 Sourav Sengupta
2016 Dion Vlachos
2017 Thomas Colacot

2015–2016 Meet­ing Program

Thursday, Sept. 17th, 2015Sourav SenguptaCatalysis – An Indispensable Tool
Sourav Sengupta, DuPont - 2015 CCP Award Winner
Abstract » | Announcement »

Thursday, Oct. 15th, 2015Matt NeurockEngineering Molecular Transformations over Supported Metal Catalysts for the Sustainable Conversion of Biomass-Derived Intermediates to Chemicals and Fuels
Matt Neurock, University of Minnesota
Abstract » | Announcement »

Brian MurphyStudent Speaker
Selectivity Control in the Catalytic Dehydration of Methyl Lactate over Alkali-Metal Zeolites

Brian Murphy, University of Delaware |  Abstract »
Thursday, Nov. 19th, 2015John HolladayCatalysis for renewable fuels and chemicals: Challenges today and a look into where we are going
John Holladay, PNNL
Abstract » | Announcement »
Graduate Student Poster Session
Thursday, Jan. 28th, 2016Jingguang ChenCO2 Conversion via Catalysis and Electrocatalysis
Jingguang Chen, Columbia University
Abstract » | Announcement »

Student Speaker
Methanol reactivity on nanocrystalline anatase TiO2 thin films

David Bennett, University of Pennsylvania  |  Abstract »
Thursday, Feb. 18th, 2016Susannah ScottActivation and Self-Initiation in the Phillips Ethylene Polymerization Catalyst
Susannah Scott, UCSB
Abstract » | Announcement »

Student Speaker
Ethylene Polymerization by Supported CrOx/SiO2 Catalysts:
Active Sites, Surface Intermediates and Structure-Activity Relationship

Anisha Chakrabarti, Lehigh University  |  Abstract »
Officer Nominations
Thursday, Mar. 24th, 2016Bingjun XuIdentification of Active Sites for Methyl Lactate Dehydration on Faujasites
Bingjun Xu, UD
Abstract » | Announcement »
Officer Nominations
Thursday, Apr. 21st, 2016TBA
Rob Rioux, PSU
Officer Elections
Thursday, May 12th, 2016Spring Symposium
Online Dinner Reservation » | Directions to Double Tree Hotel »

2015-2016 Officers

2015-2016 Officers


Torren Carlson
Past Chair
Vladimiros Nikolakis
W.L. Gore & Associates, Inc.
Anton Petushkov
Zeolyst Inter­na­tional
Stephen Harris
Dan Slanac
Program Chair
Alan Allgeier
Arrangements Chair
Alex Mironenko
University of Delaware
Director Membership
Eric Sacia
Director Poster Session
Bingjun Xu
University of Delaware
Director Sponsorship
Pranit Metkar
Carl Menning
Representative to NACS
Dion Vlachos
University of Delaware