Professor Bert M. Weckhuysen from the University of Utrecht was honored with the Karl Ziegler Guest Professorship 2019: Belgian investigates "Catalysts in Action" with innovative spectroscopic methods

October 30, 2019

Professor Bert M. Weckhuysen from the University of Utrecht has dedicated himself to green chemistry. The Belgium chemist investigates the mode of action of catalysts in chemical processes such as the conversion of biomass into biofuels. Weckhuysen uses special spectroscopic methods to visualise the function of catalysts "in action". For his outstanding achievements in this so-called operando characterization, the Max-Planck-Institut für Kohlenforschung awarded him its highest scientific award, the Karl Ziegler Guest Professorship 2019. The award was handed over by the Managing Director Professor Tobias Ritter, who presented Weckhuysen as "giant at the field of heterogeneous catalysis".
At the festive lecture on October 28, Weckhuysen presented impressive 3D images and films demonstrating the mode of action of catalysts. For the start, he chose well-known processes discovered at the Mülheim Institute. Weckhuysen showed the activation and deactivation of Ziegler-Natta catalysts and offered the audience a special look at the research of the former Institute Director and Nobel Prize Laureate. He then showed how catalysts work in the Fischer-Tropsch process, which had been developed at the institute in the 1920s and had made it possible to convert coal into liquid fuels.

The Karl Ziegler Guest Professorship was established in 1978, and since then 31 top researchers have been honored in memory of the exceptional scientist Ziegler. A fund set up by Ziegler's widow and daughter was established for this purpose at the time. Bert Weckhuysen will use his three-day stay as guest professor to be available to the scientists of the institute for exchange and to give three lectures. Many exciting insights into innovative spectroscopic methods and new findings from the research focus of green chemistry can be expected.

Go to Editor View