We are delighted to announce the 2021 recipients of the newly established IUPAC-Zhejiang NHU International Award for Advancements in Green Chemistry. We congratulate Gabriele Laudadio from the Scripps Research Institute, Lichen Liu from Tsinghua University, and Jingxiang Low from University of Science and Technology of China as the early career award winners, and David Milstein from the Weizmann Institute of Science, Israel for the experienced chemist award.
These awards will be presented during the 2021 Virtual IUPAC Congress next August at a special Symposium scheduled in the Chemistry for Sustainability thematic program in coordination with IUPAC’s Interdivisional Committee on Green Chemistry for Sustainable Development (ICGCSD).
The IUPAC-Zhejiang NHU International Award was been established in 2019 to encourage young and experienced chemists alike, and to emphasize the importance of advancements in Green Chemistry, and demonstrating how it adds value to human progress.
In recognition of highly selective and scalable chemical transformations employing photons and electrons as traceless reagents
Dr. Laudadio’s research is focused on the development of novel photochemical and electrochemical transformations. As an undergraduate at the University of Pisa, Dr. Laudadio realized the significant impact that classical chemical processes have on our environment. The use of energetically demanding and non-atom economical transformations illustrated a need for new sustainable, environmentally friendly chemistry methods, inspiring him to move into the field of Green Chemistry. As a PhD student, he developed methods for the room temperature synthesis of highly valuable molecules from inexpensive feedstocks. His work has brought us novel sustainable methods for highly selective and scalable chemical transformations that embrace photochemistry, electrochemistry, and continuous flow systems, employing photons and electrons as traceless reagents.
Dr. Laudadio earned his PhD from Eindhoven University of Technology under the supervision of Timothy Noël, and recently joined Phil Baran’s Group at The Scripps Research Institute as a postdoctoral researcher. He is currently investigating applications of electrochemistry for chemical synthesis, developing these benign methods into indispensable tools for the scientific community.
Follow his work at: https://orcid.org/0000-0002-2749-8393.
In recognition of the development of strategies to obtain highly selective and industrially viable non-noble metal catalysts
Noble metals catalysts (such as Au, Pt, Pd, Ru, Rh, etc.) are widely used industrially for the production of chemicals and fuels. Reducing the consumption of noble metals through the design of new catalysts has been recognized as a critical step for achieving sustainability in the chemical industry. As a PhD student, Dr. Liu developed new synthesis strategies for the encapsulation of subnanometric metal catalysts (single atoms and clusters of atoms) by zeolites. Confining metal atoms into the zeolite cavities provided high surface areas and reactivity for industry-relevant reactions such as propane dehydrogenation Using novel synthesis strategies, he was also able to demonstrate improved catalyst stability. Using first principles, Dr. Liu prepared a PtSn-zeolite material with reduced Pt loading and superior performance for propane dehydrogenation reaction compared to the current industrial benchmark catalysts, leading to a patent licensed to industry. Dr. Liu has also developed general strategies to obtain non-noble metal catalysts, both supported on metal oxides or protected by thin carbon layers. These materials show excellent performance for reactions such as chemoselective hydrogenation of nitroarenes. In some cases, these non-noble metal catalysts have demonstrated selectivity for reaction products previously unattainable from conventional noble metal catalysts.
Dr. Liu received his PhD from Universitat Politècnica de València, Spain under the supervision of Professor Avelino Corma, and now works at Tsinghua University in China.
Follow his work at: https://orcid.org/0000-0001-5067-0481.
In recognition of the design and synthesis of photocatalytic materials for green chemistry
Photocatalytic carbon dioxide reduction technology has great potential for use as a future sustainable energy source. With its band structure, superior stability, and low cost, titanium dioxide is seen as one of the most promising materials for achieving sustainable photocatalytic CO2 reduction. However, the material suffers from low light utilization efficiency and rapid photogenerated electron-hole recombination. Dr. Low’s research focuses on tuning titanium dioxide for enhanced the light utilization, fabricating plasmonic photocatalysts for extending light absorption, and the design of titanium dioxide-based junction photocatalysts to accelerate charge carrier separation. Dr. Low has produced systems exhibiting efficient photocatalytic performance and improved photoconversion efficiency, with important photoconversion energy and environmental applications.
Dr. Low obtained his B.Eng (Hons) from Multimedia University, Malaysia and his Master’s and PhD degrees from Wuhan University of Technology, China. He is currently at the University of Science and Technology of China, designing and synthesizing photocatalytic materials for green chemistry.
Follow his work at: https://orcid.org/0000-0002-2486-6357.
The fourth prize is awarded to an experienced chemist:
In recognition of his achievements in the development of synthetically important, environmentally benign and sustainable reactions which generate or consume hydrogen under mild conditions, without producing waste
Dr. Milstein has discovered novel reactions of great importance for green chemical synthesis and green energy. Catalyzed by novel pincer-type complexes, these environmentally benign reactions, generate or consume hydrogen, are sustainable, occur under mild conditions, and produce no waste. His work is widely recognized and has been emulated internationally by many other groups. Of major significance, Dr. Milstein discovered a fundamentally new amide bond forming reaction involving the coupling of alcohols with amines with hydrogen evolution. Amide bond formation being among the most important and frequently practiced synthetic transformations. Unlike conventional methods, this new reaction generated no waste. The “Milstein Catalyst” that made this possible is now commercially available and the reaction was featured in Science and Chemical & Engineering News among the major discoveries of 2007.
Dr. Milstein has developed other unprecedented important green reactions as well, these include dehydrogenative coupling of alcohols to form esters and hydrogen; low-pressure hydrogenation of esters and amides; selective synthesis of primary amines from alcohols and ammonia; thioester synthesis by dehydrogenative coupling of alcohols and thiols; and oxidation of organic compounds using water as a selective oxidant. The later method, which generates hydrogen, has been used to oxidize alcohols to carboxylic acids, cyclic amines to lactams, and olefins to ketones. Dr. Milstein has also demonstrated the use of hydrogenation of waste polymers to produce useful products, including the first hydrogenative depolymerization of Nylons to amino-alcohols.
Dr. Milstein is highly accomplished, he holds many prestigious awards, including the Israel Prize (Israel’s highest honor, which he received in 2012) and the ENI Environmental Protection Prize (presented to him by the President of Italy in 2016). Dr. Milstein is a member of the Israel National Academy of Sciences and Humanities; the United States National Academy of Sciences; the German National Academy of Sciences-Leopoldina; the European Academy of Sciences; and is a Foreign Member of the Royal Society of the United Kingdom.
Follow his work at: https://orcid.org/0000-0002-2320-0262 or Visit Milstein’s Lab
The 2021 Winners of the IUPAC-Zhejiang NHU International Award will prepare a review article for publication in an upcoming issue of Pure and Applied Chemistry. This award, managed by the ICGCSD, is presented every two years.
Look for the announcement of the next call in 2022 ahead of the 2023 IUPAC World Chemistry Congress that will take place in the Netherlands. For further information about the IUPAC-Zhejiang NHU International Award, see https://iupac.org/what-we-do/awards/ or contact IUPAC-NHU-PRIZE@iupac.org.