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16 November 2009
The School of Chemistry has been recognised for collaboration on an innovative catalyst discovery – successfully making hydrogen peroxide directly from hydrogen and oxygen.
Professor Graham Hutchings and Dr Jenny Edwards from the Cardiff Catalysis Institute, along with Dr Armin Liebens, from chemical company Solvay in Brussels, have been presented with The Institute of Chemical Engineers Innovation and Excellence Award in Sustainable Technology for their work
The Sustainability Award, sponsored by ABB Global Consulting, recognises the project or process which best demonstrates innovation in waste reduction, recycling, reuse or the lengthening of product lifecycles
The team from the University and Solvay won the award for their discovery of a catalyst that could make hydrogen peroxide at high rates. In the process, virtually all the hydrogen is used to make hydrogen peroxide rather than water. Their work also observed that the catalyst does not decompose the hydrogen peroxide. The findings were published earlier this year in the journal Science.
Professor Graham Hutchings said: "This is the first time chemists have observed that hydrogen peroxide can be made with such high rates and specificity. It is incredibly exciting and has many potential applications including in fine chemical synthesis as well as bleaching, cleaning and medical applications."
IChemE Chief Executive Officer, Dr David Brown said: "We received a record number of award entries this year from over 20 countries. Winning an IChemE award is an outstanding achievement and I congratulate the Cardiff University/Solvay team on their success."
Earlier this year, Professor Hutchings was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society (FRS), one of the highest honours in the academic world for his pioneering contributions in the use of gold for catalysis. He was the first to predict and subsequently demonstrate that gold would be a highly effective catalyst for ethyne hydrochlorination, thereby establishing a new field of catalysis.
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