Xile Hu receives 2015 EFCATS Young Researcher Award

Xile Hu has been awarded the 2015 European Federation of Catalysis Societies (EFCATS) Young Researchers Award, recognizing his work in catalysis for water-splitting reactions and organic synthesis.

The Award is given every two years to a researcher under the age of 40. It is sponsored by BASF, the largest chemical manufacturer in the world, and is administered by the European Federation of Catalysis Societies (EFCATS). The Award “recognizes individual contributions in the field of catalysis, with an emphasis on theoretical or experimental discovery and understanding of new catalysts and catalytic processes, synthesis and catalytic function of novel inorganic solids and complexes, mechanisms of reactions, deactivation phenomena.”

This year, the recipient of the Award is Xile Hu, Professor at EPFL’s Laboratory of Inorganic Synthesis and Catalysis. With it, EFCATS is recognizing Xile Hu’s original contributions in the development of cost-effective inorganic catalysts for water splitting reactions and well-defined organometallic catalysts for organic synthesis.

Hu’s research group at EPFL combines methods in heterogeneous, homogeneous, and enzyme catalysis to develop a fundamental understanding of catalysis and develop novel catalysts with superior properties to those in current use. Highlights include:

  • Discovering a new class of efficient hydrogen-evolution catalysts (amorphous molybdenum sulfides) and using them to achieve benchmark performance in sunlight-driven hydrogen production.
  • Pioneering the use of single-layered metal oxides as exceptional oxygen evolution catalysts.
  • Developing nickel- and iron-coordination complexes with widespread application in cross-coupling reactions.
  • Merging coordination chemistry with chemical biology to obtain molecular-level mechanistic insights of the [Fe]-hydrogenase enzyme.

The Award will be presented at Europacat XII (Kazan, Russia, August 2015).