Theodore A. Koch Travel Award 2018–2019

Dear Col­leagues,

The Catal­y­sis Club of Philadel­phia (CCP) is tak­ing appli­ca­tions for the Theodore A. Koch Trav­el Award. 

The award is spon­sored in mem­o­ry of T.A Koch in order to rec­og­nize and reward grad­u­ate stu­dent achieve­ments in catal­y­sis research. T.A. Koch (1925–2014) was a chemist who worked at DuPont, and spent his entire career devel­op­ing chem­i­cal process­es and bring­ing them from the bench­top to com­mer­cial­iza­tion with marked cre­ativ­i­ty and tenac­i­ty. The award will pro­vide finan­cial sup­port to a grad­u­ate stu­dent up to the amount of $1000 to attend a con­fer­ence of his or her choice. The amount can be used to cov­er reg­is­tra­tion fees and/or trav­el expens­es.

Eli­gi­bil­i­ty: Grad­u­ate stu­dents that are mem­bers of the CCP and have paid the annu­al dues ($10).  Selec­tion will be based on poten­tial impact of the trav­el award to the student’s career goals, finan­cial need and over­all mer­it. (The com­plet­ed appli­ca­tion form should not exceed three pages.)

The appli­ca­tion form is due Feb­ru­ary 11th 2019, and the win­ner will be announced at our Feb­ru­ary 21st meet­ing.

Please send your appli­ca­tions to Eric Sacia (CCP Chair, eric.​r.​sacia@​dupont.​com).


Best Regards,

Eric Sacia

2018–2019 CCP Chair

Catalysis Club of Philadelphia’s Annual Student Poster Session – Award Winners

Despite some unfore­seen and unsafe weath­er con­di­tions that led to can­cel­la­tions, there was still quite an impres­sive turnout lead­ing to anoth­er suc­cess­ful CCP poster ses­sion this year! Some ~19 stu­dents/­post-docs braved the weath­er and pre­sent­ed. For those who were not able to attend due to weath­er, we hope to see you (and bet­ter weath­er) next year. Whether you could attend or not, thanks to every­one for your com­mit­ment to mak­ing this anoth­er fan­tas­tic year for CCP!
Five win­ners were cho­sen based on crowd vot­ing fol­lowed by indi­vid­ual judg­ing by CCP offi­cers. Each win­ner will receive a mon­e­tary reward and the over­all win­ner is invit­ed to give a talk at the annu­al CCP Sym­po­sium in Spring 2019.

2018 CCP Poster Ses­sion Win­ners
Natalia Rodriquez Quiroz
Chao Lin
Elvis Ebikade
Jen­nifer Lee
Yuan Cheng

Left-to-right: Eric Sacia (CCP Chair), Yuan Cheng, Natalia Rodriquez Quiroz, Jen­nifer Lee, Elvis Ebikade, and Chao Lin. Con­grat­u­la­tions to all the win­ners!

Welcome Announcement for the 2018–2019 Season

Dear Col­leagues,
It is my dis­tinct plea­sure to wel­come all of you to the 2018–19 sea­son of the Catal­y­sis Club of Philadel­phia on behalf of the Club’s Offi­cers. The Club’s pro­gram will kick off this year with a pre­sen­ta­tion by Prof. Alan Gold­man on Sep­tem­ber 27th, 2018. Due to the avail­abil­i­ty of our Catal­y­sis Club of Philadel­phia Award Recip­i­ent, Dr. Car­mo Pereira, the CCP Award lec­ture will be giv­en on Jan­u­ary 17th, 2019. The speak­er sched­ule for the 2018–19 sea­son (put togeth­er under the coor­di­na­tion of Srini­vas Ran­gara­jan from Lehigh Uni­ver­si­ty), along with the spe­cial events, is list­ed below. We hope that you’ll join us and that you’ll enjoy the planned talks!

Date Speak­er Spe­cial Event
Sept. 27, 2018 Prof. Alan S. Gold­man (Rut­gers Un.) Sea­son Kick-off
Oct. 11, 2018 Dr. Teh C. Ho (Exxon­Mo­bil) Cia­pet­ta Award Win­ner
Nov. 15, 2018 Prof. Eric A. Stach (Un. of Penn­syl­va­nia) Stu­dent Poster Com­pe­ti­tion
Jan. 17, 2019 Dr. Car­mo J. Pereira (DuPont) CCP Award Lec­ture
Feb. 21, 2019 Prof. Dr. Johannes A. Lercher (TU München, PNNL) Offi­cer Nom­i­na­tions
March 21, 2019 Prof. Eric D. Wachs­man (Un. of Mary­land) Offi­cer Nom­i­na­tions
April 18, 2019 Prof. William F. Schnei­der (Un. of Notre Dame) Offi­cer Elec­tions
May 2019 CCP Spring Sym­po­sium

The month­ly meet­ing loca­tion will remain the same and will be held at the Crowne Plaza Hotel in Clay­mont, DE (630 Naa­mans Road, Clay­mont, DE 19703). In order to off­set ris­ing cater­ing costs, meet­ing fees have increased to $40.00 for mem­bers, $25.00 for students/retirees, and will include one drink dur­ing the social hour. The fees for walk-ins and non-mem­bers will be $45.00. We strong­ly encour­age you to reg­is­ter for the meet­ing using the online reg­is­tra­tion form, a link to which is pro­vid­ed in each meet­ing announce­ment email.
Reser­va­tions can also be made by con­tact­ing our Trea­sur­er (Lifeng.​Wang@​pqcorp.​com) or Chair (Eric.​R.​Sacia@​dupont.​com) direct­ly. Dues for the 2018–19 sea­son will remain at $25.00 ($5.00 for the local club and $20.00 to the nation­al club). Dues for stu­dents, post­docs and retirees will be $10.00 ($5.00 for the local club and $5.00 to the nation­al club).
Our annu­al stu­dent poster com­pe­ti­tion (orga­nized by Nick McNa­ma­ra of John­son Matthey) will be held on Novem­ber 15th, 2018. It pro­vides an impor­tant forum for local stu­dents to dis­sem­i­nate their work and inter­act with fel­low sci­en­tists from indus­try and acad­e­mia. Fur­ther­more, select­ed stu­dents from local uni­ver­si­ties will also be giv­en the oppor­tu­ni­ty to pro­vide a brief pre­sen­ta­tion of their work at cer­tain meet­ings.
Feel free to con­tact either myself or the oth­er offi­cers with any com­ments or ques­tions, and keep check­ing our web­site peri­od­i­cal­ly (www​.catal​y​sis​clubphilly​.org) for news or updates. Look­ing for­ward to see­ing all of you this sea­son!

All the best,
Eric Sacia
Catal­y­sis Club of Philadel­phia Chair

Nominees For 2018–2019 CCP Officers

Nominees for Chair Elect

Marat Ora­zov

Marat Ora­zov obtained his B.S. degree in Chem­i­cal Engi­neer­ing in 2012, at the Uni­ver­si­ty of Cal­i­for­nia, Berke­ley, hav­ing per­formed under­grad­u­ate research in the labs of Profs. Alexan­der Katz and David B. Graves. Then, under the guid­ance of Prof. Mark E. Davis, he pur­sued a Ph.D. in Chem­i­cal Engi­neer­ing at Cal­tech, where he stud­ied a num­ber of cat­alyt­ic sys­tems per­tain­ing to the syn­the­sis of valu­able chem­i­cals from bio­mass. In the fall of 2016, Dr. Ora­zov start­ed his post­doc­tor­al research with Prof. Thomas F. Jaramil­lo, at Stan­ford, devel­op­ing ther­mo­cat­alyt­ic sys­tems for the syn­the­sis of high­er alco­hols and cath­ode elec­tro­cat­a­lysts for hydro­gen fuel cells. In the sum­mer of 2018, he will join the fac­ul­ty as an Assis­tant Pro­fes­sor, at the Depart­ment of Chem­i­cal & Bio­mol­e­c­u­lar Engi­neer­ing, at the Uni­ver­si­ty of Delaware. He aims to study and devel­op mate­ri­als and cou­pled cat­alyt­ic sys­tems for the renew­able gen­er­a­tion and stor­age of ener­gy, and chem­i­cal syn­the­sis, with par­tic­u­lar inter­est in micro­p­orous mate­ri­als and elec­tro­chem­istry.

Jacob Dick­in­son

Jake start­ed at DuPont 2014. He has worked on a vari­ety of projects includ­ing the con­ver­sion of non-edi­ble bio­mass into an inter­me­di­ate for renew­able monomers, devel­op­ment of ther­mo­plas­tic com­pos­ites for com­pressed hydro­gen stor­age ves­sels, and, most recent­ly, on monomer and poly­mer process devel­op­ment.

Pri­or to join­ing DuPont, Jake attend­ed Hope Col­lege and grad­u­at­ed with a B.S. in Chem­i­cal Engi­neer­ing, and then went on to the Uni­ver­si­ty of Michi­gan and grad­u­at­ed with a Ph.D. in Chem­i­cal Engi­neer­ing. The gen­er­al focus of his the­sis was the hydrodeoxy­gena­tion of phe­nols in super­crit­i­cal water. A major con­tri­bu­tion of his the­sis was the syn­the­sis and use of a Cu-doped Raney Ni cat­a­lyst that con­tained tun­able HDO and gasi­fi­ca­tion activ­i­ty depend­ing on the Cu con­tent of the cat­a­lyst.

Jake served as the Mem­ber­ship Direc­tor dur­ing the 2016–17 CCP sea­son and hopes to con­tin­ue serv­ing the catal­y­sis com­mu­ni­ty.

Nominees for Treasurer

Lifeng Wang

Lifeng Wang is a research chemist in Zeolyst Inter­na­tion­al and his research work is focused on devel­op­ing var­i­ous zeo­lite cat­a­lysts for auto­mo­tive appli­ca­tions. He received his BS and PhD in Chem­istry from Jilin Uni­ver­si­ty, Chi­na, where his research was focused on design and syn­the­sis of nov­el sor­bents and cat­a­lysts includ­ing sil­i­cas, car­bons and zeo­lites. Lifeng has been an active mem­ber of the Catal­y­sis Club of Philadel­phia since 2014.

Ist­van Halasz

Ist­van is Prin­ci­pal Chemist at the Research & Devel­op­ment Cen­ter of PQ Cor­po­ra­tion, study­ing the struc­ture and prop­er­ties of sil­i­ca-deriv­a­tives. Pri­or to this he stud­ied cat­alyt­ic process­es and super­con­duct­ing ceram­ics part­ly at US uni­ver­si­ties and part­ly at the Cen­tral Chem­istry Insti­tute of the Hun­gar­i­an Acad­e­my of Sci­ences. From this lat­ter insti­tu­tion he obtained a Ph. D. equiv­a­lent degree and also holds a doc­tor­ate degree from the Lajos Kos­suth Uni­ver­si­ty (Hun­gary). In the ini­tial 12 years of his research car­ri­er he worked at the Hun­gar­i­an Hydro­car­bon Insti­tute, devel­op­ing and scal­ing-up effi­cient patent­ed process­es for phar­ma­ceu­ti­cal, fine chem­i­cal and petro­chem­i­cal indus­tries along with per­form­ing fun­da­men­tal stud­ies in acid-base catal­y­sis. He served as pres­i­dent and chair in var­i­ous sci­en­tif­ic orga­ni­za­tions, edit­ed one book, authored cir­ca 125 book chap­ters, papers and patents and held 90+ con­fer­ence pre­sen­ta­tions.

Nominees for Director (Poster, Membership and Sponsorship)

Run­bo Li

Run­bo Li obtained her Ph.D. in Ana­lyt­i­cal Chem­istry from Drex­el Uni­ver­si­ty in USA. In her the­sis, she stud­ied dif­fer­ent meth­ods for prepar­ing sam­ples for analy­sis by MALDI TOFMS and applied these meth­ods to quan­ti­fy pro­teins. At PQ R&D, she has focused on ana­lyt­i­cal method devel­op­ment and char­ac­ter­i­za­tion research relat­ed to sil­i­cates, glass beads, amor­phous sil­i­ca gel and zeo­lites. She has pub­lished 18 papers.

Nicholas McNa­ma­ra

Nicholas McNa­ma­ra attained a B.S. (2009) and M.S. (2011) from the Uni­ver­si­ty of Day­ton where he car­ried out research on the sono­chem­i­cal syn­the­sis and char­ac­ter­i­za­tion of car­bon-sup­port­ed met­al nanopar­ti­cles. He then attend­ed the Uni­ver­si­ty of Notre Dame where his grad­u­ate research was sup­port­ed by the Patrick and Jana Eil­ers Grad­u­ate Stu­dent Fel­low­ship for Ener­gy Relat­ed Research. In his grad­u­ate research, he stud­ied the syn­the­sis, char­ac­ter­i­za­tion, and uti­liza­tion of met­al-organ­ic frame­works (MOFs) and MOF-tem­plat­ed mate­ri­als as oxida­tive desul­fu­r­iza­tion cat­a­lysts. He earned his PhD in 2015 under the direc­tion of Prof. Jason Hicks. He began his indus­tri­al research career in 2016 as a staff sci­en­tist in the Clean Air divi­sion of John­son Matthey. His cur­rent research focus­es on the design of new mate­ri­als for tar­get­ed emis­sions con­trol appli­ca­tions and the deter­mi­na­tion of struc­ture-prop­er­ty rela­tion­ships.

Bill Borghard

Cur­rent­ly, Bill is a con­sul­tant in the area of catal­y­sis. In par­tic­u­lar, he is the indus­tri­al liai­son for the Rut­gers Cat­a­lyst Man­u­fac­tur­ing Con­sor­tium, based in the Chem­i­cal and Bio­chem­i­cal Engi­neer­ing Depart­ment at Rut­gers Uni­ver­si­ty. He is also on the Advi­so­ry Board for the Catal­y­sis Cen­ter for Ener­gy Inno­va­tion (CCEI), based at the Uni­ver­si­ty of Delaware.

Bill retired from Exxon­Mo­bil in 2013 after 32 years with the com­pa­ny. He start­ed at the Mobil Pauls­boro Lab in 1980 inves­ti­gat­ing Fis­ch­er-Trop­sch/ZSM-5 two-stage wax upgrad­ing. In 1982, Bill trans­ferred to Mobil’s lab in Prince­ton work­ing in explorato­ry research and lab automa­tion. In 1992, Bill returned to Pauls­boro, where he had assign­ments in reform­ing, light gas upgrad­ing, and cat­a­lyst char­ac­ter­i­za­tion. Sub­se­quent­ly, he moved to the Clin­ton labs of Exxon­Mo­bil, where he led a num­ber of major R&D projects, includ­ing GTL cat­a­lyst devel­op­ment, nov­el diesel cat­a­lysts, Algae Bio­Fu­els, and resid upgrad­ing. Bill is an inven­tor or co-inven­tor on 24 U.S. patents.

Pri­or to join­ing Mobil, Bill grad­u­at­ed from Stan­ford Uni­ver­si­ty with a Ph.D. in chem­i­cal engi­neer­ing under the tute­lage of Michel Boudart. He also obtained and M.S. and B.S. in chem­i­cal engi­neer­ing from the Uni­ver­si­ty of Con­necti­cut where he stud­ied under C.O. Ben­nett. He vol­un­teers for Seeds of Hope Min­istries (Cam­den, NJ).

Jim Hugh­es

Jim Hugh­es com­plet­ed obtained his bach­e­lors of Sci­ence from the Uni­ver­si­ty of Cal­i­for­nia, Los Ange­les in Chem­istry (UCLA). After grad­u­a­tion he spent two years work­ing in the Catal­y­sis Devel­op­ment group at Chevron’s R&D cen­ter in Rich­mond Cal­i­for­nia work­ing on het­ero­ge­neous cat­a­lyst devel­op­ment. After­wards Jim left Chevron to pur­sue his Ph.D. under the guid­ance of Alexan­dra Navrot­sky at The Uni­ver­si­ty of Cal­i­for­nia, Davis. Jim’s Ph.D. was the study of the Ther­mo­dy­nam­ics of Met­al-Organ­ic Frame­works. Dur­ing his Ph.D. Jim was award­ed a NSF-EASPI fel­low­ship. Cur­rent­ly Jim Is a Senior Research Chemist with Zeolyst Inter­na­tion­al, work­ing on pilot scale syn­the­sis and com­mer­cial pro­duc­tion of zeo­lite mol­e­c­u­lar sieves.

Renewable Isoprene By Sequential Hydrogenation of Itaconic Acid and Dehydra-Decyclization of 3-Methyl-Tetrahydrofuran

2018 Spring Symposium

Omar Abdel­rah­man, Post-Doc, Paul Dauen­hauer Group, Depart­ment of Chem­i­cal Engi­neer­ing & Mate­r­i­al Sci­ence, Uni­ver­si­ty of Min­neso­ta, 421 Wash­ing­ton Ave. SE, Min­neapo­lis, MN 55455

Abstract — The cat­alyt­ic con­ver­sion of bio­mass-derived feed­stocks to val­ue added chem­i­cals is an impor­tant chal­lenge to alle­vi­ate the depen­dence on petro­le­um-based resources. To accom­plish this, the inher­ent­ly high oxy­gen con­tent of bio­mass com­pounds, such as that of lig­no­cel­lu­losic bio­mass, requires sig­nif­i­cant reduc­tion via hydrodeoxy­gena­tion strate­gies. The unsat­u­rat­ed car­boxylic acid ita­con­ic acid (IA) can be pro­duced from bio­mass via fer­men­ta­tion path­ways, for exam­ple. A path­way of inter­est is the con­ver­sion of IA to iso­prene, facil­i­tat­ing the renew­able pro­duc­tion of an indus­tri­al­ly rel­e­vant diolefin. IA can be suc­ces­sive­ly hydro­genat­ed to yield 3-methyl tetrahy­dro­fu­ran (3-MTHF), in a one-pot cas­cade reac­tion, where a Pd-Re bimetal­lic cat­a­lyst results in an 80% yield to 3-MTHF. The 3-MTHF can then be con­vert­ed to iso­prene, and oth­er pen­ta­di­enes, through an acid cat­alyzed vapor-phase dehy­dra-decy­cliza­tion. Mul­ti­ple sol­id acid cat­a­lysts, includ­ing alu­mi­nosil­i­cates, met­al oxides and phos­pho­rous mod­i­fied zeo­lites, were screened for the dehy­dra-decy­cliza­tion step. A new class of cat­alyt­ic mate­ri­als, all sil­i­con
phos­pho­rous con­tain­ing zeo­lites, were found to be the most selec­tive (70% iso­prene and 20% pen­ta­di­enes), where the major side reac­tion involved is a retro-prins con­den­sa­tion of 3-MTHF to butane and formalde­hyde. Through kinet­ic stud­ies, an inves­ti­ga­tion into the effect of Brøn­st­ed acid strength, pore size and oper­at­ing con­di­tions on the selec­tiv­i­ty to iso­prene are dis­cussed. The prospect of apply­ing this dehy­dra-decy­cliza­tion strat­e­gy to oth­er sat­u­rat­ed cyclic ethers will also be dis­cussed, which enables the pro­duc­tion of oth­er diolefin mol­e­cules of inter­est such as buta­di­ene and lin­ear pen­ta­di­enes.

[1] Abdel­rah­man, O. A.; Park, D. S.; Vin­ter, K. P.; Span­jers, C. S.; Ren, L.; Cho, H. J.; Zhang, K.; Fan, W.; Tsap­at­sis, M.; Dauen­hauer, P. J. ACS Catal. 2017, 7, 1428–1431.

Using Water as a Co-catalyst in Heterogeneous Catalysis to Improve Activity and Selectivity

2018 Spring Symposium

Lars C. Grabow, Depart­ment of Chem­i­cal and Bio­mol­e­c­u­lar Engi­neer­ing, Uni­ver­si­ty of Hous­ton, Hous­ton, TX 77204–4004, USA

Abstract — “What hap­pens when you add water?” is pos­si­bly the most fre­quent­ly asked ques­tion after pre­sen­ta­tions in het­ero­ge­neous catal­y­sis. In this talk, I will demon­strate that this ques­tion is indeed para­mount and that the pres­ence of even minute amounts of water can dras­ti­cal­ly change reac­tion rates and prod­uct selec­tiv­i­ties. Exam­ples include water-medi­at­ed pro­ton hop­ping across a met­al-oxide sur­face, oxi­da­tion of car­bon monox­ide at the gold/titania inter­face, and hydrodeoxy­gena­tion of phe­no­lic com­pounds over tita­nia sup­port­ed ruthe­ni­um cat­a­lysts. Togeth­er, these exam­ples demon­strate that water can act as co-cat­a­lyst in a vari­ety of cat­alyt­ic reac­tions and by vary­ing the amount of water it may be pos­si­ble to tune reac­tion rates and prod­uct selec­tiv­i­ty.

Selective Catalytic Oxidation of Alcohols over Supported Metal Nanoparticles and Atomically-Dispersed Metal Cations

2018 Spring Symposium

Robert J. Davis, Depart­ment of Chem­i­cal Engi­neer­ing, Uni­ver­si­ty of Vir­ginia, Char­lottesville, VA, USA

Abstract — Selec­tive oxi­da­tion of alco­hols to car­bonyl com­pounds is an impor­tant reac­tion in organ­ic syn­the­sis and will like­ly play a sig­nif­i­cant role in the devel­op­ment of val­ue-added chem­i­cals from bio­mass. The indus­tri­al appli­ca­tion of a pre­cious met­al cat­a­lyst such as Pt, how­ev­er, can be hin­dered by deac­ti­va­tion and high price. We have there­fore explored the mode of deac­ti­va­tion dur­ing alco­hol oxi­da­tion on Pt by in-situ spec­troscopy and stud­ied the role of var­i­ous pro­mot­ers on cat­a­lyst per­for­mance. Results con­firm that slow decar­bony­la­tion of prod­uct alde­hyde deposit­ed unsat­u­rat­ed hydro­car­bon on the sur­face that blocked access to the active sites. Addi­tion of Bi as a pro­mot­er did not pre­vent the decar­bony­la­tion side reac­tion, but instead enhanced the acti­va­tion of dioxy­gen dur­ing the cat­alyt­ic cycle. In an effort to avoid the use of pre­cious met­als alto­geth­er, the oxi­da­tion of alco­hols over atom­i­cal­ly-dis­persed, non-pre­cious met­al cations (Fe, Cu, and Co) locat­ed in a nitro­gen-doped car­bon matrix was demon­strat­ed. Exten­sive char­ac­ter­i­za­tion of these non-pre­cious met­al cat­a­lysts revealed impor­tant insights into the oxi­da­tion mech­a­nism and sta­bil­i­ty of this new class of atom­i­cal­ly-dis­persed met­al cat­a­lyst.