The Role of Heterogeneous Catalysis in the Defossilization of the Chemical Industry


Monday, November 13, 2023 - 9:00am


Engr II 1519


Professor Ive Hermans - University of Wisconsin-Madison

Abstract: In this talk I will elaborate on strategies to decouple the chemical industry from traditional fossil fuels to reduce the emission of greenhouse gasses as well as to improve carbon circularity. I will showcase the discovery of new catalytic systems, illustrating how “luck favors the prepared”, and how the right tools allow us to establish molecular design principles to improve promising systems. The team practices a convergence research approach, combining materials synthesis and characterization, kinetics and reaction engineering, in situ spectroscopy and computational description and prediction. One powerful tool that I will highlight is Modulation Excitation Spectroscopy, a dynamic technique where the concentration of one of the reagents is periodically altered. By studying the response of the system to this perturbation we can filter out noise and signals stemming from spectator species and obtain kinetic insights in the activation and transformation of reagents over participating sites at the fluid-solid interface. The overarching scientific principles of active site restructuring and site cooperation will be illustrated 

Bio: Ive Hermans obtained his PhD under the supervision of Profs. Pierre Jacobs and Jozef Peeters (2006; KU Leuven, Belgium). In addition to his scientific education, Ive Hermans also holds a postgraduate degree in Business Administration (KU Leuven, 2006). After post-doctoral research on in situ spectroscopy and reaction engineering with Prof. Alfons Baiker, he became assistant professor (spring 2008) at the Institute for Chemical and Bioengineering of ETH Zurich in Switzerland. In January 2014, Prof. Hermans joined the University of Wisconsin-Madison, holding a dual appointment in the Department of Chemistry and the Department of Chemical and Biological Engineering. He was co-founding editor-in-chief of Chemistry Europe (Wiley) and will join the editorial team of ACS Sustainable Chemistry and Engineering later this year. A selection of recent awards includes the 2017 inaugural Robert Augustine award by the Organic Reaction Catalysis Society and the 2019 Ipatieff Price by the American Chemical Society. He was selected as a 2021 Alexander von Humboldt Professor but declined to offer to remain in the US. In 2023, Dr. Hermans was selected as a Fellow of the American Chemical Society. 

Event Type: