Enrique Iglesia receives 2018 AIChE William H. Walker Award

Enrique Iglesia Nepal

Enrique Iglesia (right) celebrates at 4000 meters with Johannes Lercher, Stok Kangri area, Ladakh, India, Summer 2018 (photo: courtesy of E. Iglesia)

September 6, 2018

For immediate release
Berkeley, CA

Enrique IglesiaUC Berkeley Faculty member Enrique Iglesia, Theodore Vermeulen Chair Professor in the Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering, has been awarded the 2018 William H. Walker Award for Excellence in Contributions to Chemical Engineering Literature from the American Institute of Chemical Engineers (AIChE). The award acknowledges Iglesia’s publications for the fundamental unifying contributions to the catalysis literature, including quantitative understanding of the role of entropy in confined spaces and reaction pathways on crowded surfaces. Presented annually since 1936, the award is named for William H. Walker, one of the American pioneers of chemical engineering practice and principles.

“Enrique’s work exemplifies how generating foundational and recyclable knowledge in catalysis requires rigorous mechanistic analysis at relevant conditions on purposely-assembled materials,” stated Nicholas Delgass, Purdue University’s Maxine Spencer Nichols Professor Emeritus of Chemical Engineering. “The success of his approach has rewritten fundamental descriptions of acid catalysis and unified general concepts of solvation effects on reactivity and selectivity that quantitatively capture how transition states are stabilized by confinement in zeolite pores.”

His research group addresses the design, synthesis, and structural and mechanistic characterization of inorganic solids useful as catalysts for chemical reactions important in the production, conversion and use of energy carriers, in sustainable petrochemical syntheses, and in the protection of the environment. These studies combine synthetic protocols to create novel active structures at the atomic scale and experimental and theoretical inquiries to determine the details of their structure and function at conditions relevant to the practice of catalysis.   His work has provided significant insights and enabling concepts for practical catalytic processes essential for the conversion of natural gas, the use of zeolite catalysts in improving the performance of fuels and chemicals synthesis and in environmental control, and  the efficient conversion of renewable oxygenate feedstocks.

About Enrique Iglesia

Iglesia is the Theodore Vermeulen Chair in Chemical Engineering and the University of California at Berkeley, and a Faculty Senior Scientist at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. He holds degrees in chemical engineering from Princeton (B.S.) and Stanford (Ph.D.). He joined the Berkeley faculty in 1993 after research and management positions at the Exxon Corporate Research Labs. Iglesia is a member of the National Academy of Engineering, the National Academy of Inventors, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and he is former Editor-in-Chief at the Journal of Catalysis and a Fellow of AIChE and ACS. He has received the Somorjai and the Olah Awards from ACS, the Alpha Chi Sigma and Wilhelm Awards from AIChE, and the Emmett and Burwell Awards from the Catalysis Society. His dedication to teaching was recognized with the Donald Sterling Noyce Teaching Prize, the highest teaching campus recognition in the physical sciences. He has co-authored more than 340 publications and 40 patents. His research interests are in heterogeneous catalysis and chemical reaction engineering with emphasis on materials and processes relevant in energy use, in the synthesis of chemicals and fuels, and in the prevention and abatement of the environmental impact of energy conversion and use.

The award will be presented at the Institute’s honors ceremony during AIChE’s October 2018 annual meeting in Pittsburgh.