PNNL team wins American Chemical Society award

March 24, 2015

RICHLAND, Wash. - A team of scientists at the Department of Energy's Pacific Northwest National Laboratory has been selected to receive the first-ever team win for the American Chemical Society's Catalysis Lectureship for the Advancement of Catalytic Science.

The award recognizes "groundbreaking research that enables better understanding of the links among various subdisciplines of catalysis ... and also advances the field of catalysis as a whole." Catalysis accelerates the rates of chemical reactions to selectively produce desired products. This is the first time the award has been given to a team rather than an individual.

PNNL's Hydrogen Catalysis team is led by Morris Bullock and, until his recent retirement, Dan DuBois. Other team members named on the award are Monte Helm, Michel Dupuis, Simone Raugei, Molly O'Hagan, Wendy Shaw, Aaron Appel, and Eric Wiedner, all of PNNL; former PNNL staff members Jenny Yang and John Roberts; and Sharon Hammes-Schiffer of the University of Illinois.

The team is being honored for breakthroughs that have "revolutionized ... understanding of the role of proton movement in the electrocatalytic interconversion of electricity and hydrogen fuel," resulting in stronger connections between bio-related and molecular catalysis as well as between experimental and theoretical chemists. They have focused on the use of abundant metals, such as nickel and iron, rather than precious metals such as platinum, to make fast and energy-efficient catalysts that can be used on the huge scale necessary for practical energy conversions. The ground-breaking research that led to this award was supported as part of the Center for Molecular Electrocatalysis, an Energy Frontier Research Center funded by the U.S. Department of Energy's Office of Science.

Doug Ray, PNNL's associate laboratory director for fundamental and computational sciences, said the award reflects the outstanding science and leadership that PNNL is known for in catalysis. "Our outstanding scientists focus on grand challenges critical for controlling chemical transformations for energy applications," Ray said. "This award demonstrates that their research is advancing an important frontier in catalysis science."

The team will be honored at the 2015 ACS national meeting in Boston in August.

Read the ACS announcement about the award.
Tags: Energy, Fundamental Science, Awards and Honors, Biofuel, Chemistry, Catalysis

Interdisciplinary teams at Pacific Northwest National Laboratory address many of America's most pressing issues in energy, the environment and national security through advances in basic and applied science. Founded in 1965, PNNL employs 4,300 staff and has an annual budget of more than $1 billion. It is managed by Battelle for the U.S. Department of Energy's Office of Science. As the single largest supporter of basic research in the physical sciences in the United States, the Office of Science is working to address some of the most pressing challenges of our time.

For more information on PNNL, visit the PNNL News Center, or follow PNNL on Facebook, Google+, LinkedIn and Twitter.

DOE/Pacific Northwest National Laboratory

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