Reduce, Reuse &Recycle
Prof. dr. ir. Bert Weckhuysen
Debye Institute for Nanomaterials Science
With limited access to natural resources, scientists must develop new ways to reduce and reuse what we already have. In this lecture, I wish to discuss how catalysis is being used to create waste-powered transport and why it is so difficult to convert carbon dioxide into fuels and chemicals. Our means for a more rational design of solid catalysts will be discussed; one which is based on a detailed understanding of the chemical processes taking place in real-life catalysts. Hence, I also wish to present the recent advances in spectroscopy of catalytic solids at different length scales, starting from single molecules and atoms up to the level of individual catalyst particles. Emphasis will be devoted to the challenges to make a molecular movie of a catalyst. It will be shown how this better understanding of catalytic processes may be beneficial for transforming our society to a more sustainable one.
Bert Weckhuysen is currently a Distinguished University Professor at Utrecht University. He received his master degree in chemical & agricultural engineering from Leuven University (Belgium) in 1991. After obtaining his PhD degree from Leuven University in 1995 under the supervision of Prof. Schoonheydt, he worked as a postdoc with Prof. Wachs at Lehigh University (USA) and with Prof. Lunsford at Texas A&M University (USA) and started his independent academic career in 2000 at Utrecht University. Weckhuysen has received several awards, including the Royal Dutch Chemical Society Gold Medal, the Emmett Award in Fundamental Catalysis, the International Catalysis Award and the Spinoza Award. In 2015 he was appointed Knight in the Order of the Netherlands Lion. Weckhuysen is a member of the Royal Dutch Academy of Sciences and the European Academy of Science. The group is renown for in-situ & operando spectroscopy of catalytic solids under realistic conditions.