D.B. Robinson Speaker - Dr. Javier Perez-Ramirez does some treasure hunting in catalysis

Using tennis balls, cartoons, videos and humour, Dr. Javier Pérez-Ramírez won the hearts of his audience this Valentine’s Day (February 14) when he gave the Andrew Main Lecture as part of the D.B. Robinson Speaker Series.

Javier Pérez-Ramírez (Benidorm, Spain, 1974) has been Full Professor of Catalysis Engineering at the Institute for Chemical and Bioengineering, ETH Zurich, since January 2010. He studied Chemical Engineering at the University of Alicante, Spain (1997) and earned his PhD degree cum laude at TUDelft, the Netherlands (2002). He worked for Norsk Hydro and Yara International in Porsgrunn, Norway (2002-2005) and returned to academia as ICREA research professor and group leader at ICIQ in Tarragona, Spain (2005-2009). He has published over 230 articles (current h-index 43) and is co-inventor of 13 patents, 4 of which are under industrial exploitation.

During his talk titled “Treasure hunting in catalysis by hierarchical zeolite design”, Dr. Pérez-Ramírez looked at the benefits of the improved access and molecular transport in zeolite crystals with hierarchical porosity.

Dr. Pérez-Ramírez said, “Zeolites are the most successful catalysts in Chemical Engineering, but are highly inefficient. The future of zeolites and the chemical industry in fact, requires us to make zeolite more open so molecules can now react on them.” His talk looked at how to “hunt treasures” in zeolite to allow for more reactions that were not possible before. 

He said, “It’s important that future research in energy and fuels looks at this because now we are using oil, but we will need to handle more raw materials.” He explained that this area of research has so far been largely neglected but because resources are starting to dwindle, it is now becoming more important to make the zeolite catalytic performance as efficient as possible. His research looks at the scale up principles needed to increase the odds of successfully implementing improved catalytic technologies for the industrial manufacturing of zeolites.

On being part of the D.B. Robinson Series, he said, “I was looking at the tradition and history behind the Series and I’m very honored to be part of it. It’s a nice opportunity to bring people from different specializations together at this huge and diverse department.” 

To see the remaining schedule for the D.B. Speakers this year, click here.