Lehigh University Students Shine at Northeast Regional Catalysis Symposium

The annual Spring Symposium of the Catalysis Society of Metropolitan NY (NYCS) was held at the Ben Franklin TechVentures center on Lehigh University's campus on March 12, 2014. The symposium attracted over 120 attendees from the northeast region (from Massachusetts to Delaware) and the attendees were welcomed by opening remarks given by Mr. Wayne Barz (Ben Franklin's Manager). This was the largest northeast catalysis meeting ever held and attracted participants from academia (UMASS, UConn, Yale, SUNY-Stony Brook, Cedar Crest, Columbia, City College of CUNY, Stevens Institute of Technology, Rutgers, Princeton, New Jersey Institute of Technology (NJIT), Lehigh, Villanova, Penn State, U. Pennsylvania, U. Delaware, and Yale), national labs (Brookhaven) and industry (Air Products, Anellotech, BASF, ExxonMobil, International Flavors and Fragrances, Johnson Matthey, Primus Green Energy, Scientific Design and WR Grace). Approximately 50 poster presentations were made by graduate students and post-doctoral scholars at the conference. The top five graduate poster presentations received recognition for their outstanding research and went to:

1st place: Mr. Paul Smith of Rutger's Department of Chemistry and Chemical Biology for his research on "The Mechanism of Catalytic Water Oxidation by Cobalt: From Cubanes to Materials." Mr. Smith is supervised by Prof. G.C. Dismukes (Rutger's Department of Chemistry and Chemical Biology).

2nd place: Mrs. Yadan Tang of Lehigh's Department of Chemistry for her research on "Molecular Structures of Catalytic Active Sites and Their Activity for Methane Dehydroaromatization to Liquid Fuels by Supported MOx/ZSM-5 Catalysts". Mrs. Tang is supervised by Prof. I.E. Wachs (Lehigh - Department of Chemical Engineering).

3rd-I place: Mr. Christopher Keturakis of Lehigh's Department of Chemical Engineering for his presentation on "Operando Molecular Spectroscopy during Catalytic Biomass Pyrolysis." Mr. Keturakis is also supervised by Prof. I.E. Wachs.

3rd-II place: Mr. Yannick Kimmel of Columbia/U. Delaware's Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering for his research on "Trends in the Activity and Stability of Transition Metal Carbides and Their Potential use as Supports for Low-Cost Electrocatalysts." Mr. Kimmel is supervised by Prof. J. G. Chen.

Honorable Mentions: Mr. Ke Xiong of Columbia/U. Delaware's Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering for his research on "Selectively Activating the C=O Bond of Furfural Using Metal Carbide and Bimetallic Catalysts." Mr. Xiong is also supervised by Prof. J. G. Chen.


Pictured: Lehigh graduate students Mrs. Yadan Tang (left) and Mr. Christopher Keturakis (right) receiving their awards from Dr. Xiaoming Wang (BASF, Chair-elect of NYCS).

The keynote speaker was Prof. Christophe Coperet of the Swiss Technical University (ETH-Zurich) who made the presentation entitled "Controlled Functionalization of Surfaces Towards Well-Defined Heterogeneous Catalysts and Beyond." Two Lehigh faculty members were also invited to make presentations.

Prof. Nick Strandwitz (Department of Material Science & Engineering) presented the talk entitled "Semiconductor-Based Photoelectrochemical Water Splitting: The Current State of the Field."

Prof. Israel E. Wachs (Department of Chemical Engineering) made the presentation on "Catalysis Research with Lehigh's Advanced Surface Characterization Instruments."

Pictured: Prof. Israel E. Wachs showcasing Lehigh's surface characterization instrumentation.

Pictured: Prof. Nicholas C. Strandwitz delivering his lecture on photoelectrochemical water splitting.