Science and Technology Progress Award of HLHL Foundation (2016)
Distinguished Award of Chinese Academy of Sciences (2010)
Zhou Guang Zhao Foundation Award for Applied Science (2009)
Excellent Scientist Award of Chinese Catalysis Society (2008)
National Award of Technology Invention (Second Class, 2008, 2006, 2005)
National Science Foundation for Distinguished Young Scholars of China (2003)
B.S., Chemistry, Shaanxi University of Technology (1982)
M.S., Physical Chemistry, Dalian Institute of Chemical Physics, CAS (1986)
Ph.D., Physical Chemistry, Dalian Institute of Chemical Physics, CAS (1989)
Visiting Scholar, School of Chemistry, University of Birmingham, UK (1989.9-1990.10)
Fellow of the Royal Society of Chemistry, 2012 –present
Associate Editor-in-Chief, Chinese Journal of Catalysis, 2007–present
Editorial Board, Industrial & Engineering Chemistry Research, ACS Sustainable Chemistry
& Engineering, Applied Catalysis B: Environmental, ChemPhyChem
Design and synthesis of nano and subnano materials, catalytic conversion of biomass.
1. Catalytically active Rh sub-nanoclusters on TiO2 for CO oxidation at cryogenic temperatures, Angew. Chem. Int. Ed., 2016, 55, 2820-2824.
2. Single-atom dispersed Co-N-C catalyst: structure identification and performance for hydrogenative coupling of nitroarenes. Chem. Sci. 2016, 7, 5758-5764.
3. Hydroformylation of olefins by a Rhodium single-atom catalyst with activity comparable to RhCl(PPh3)3. Angew. Chem. Int. Ed., 2016, 55, 16054-16058.
4. Catalytic transformation of lignin for the production of chemicals and fuels, Chem. Rev., 2015, 115, 11559-11624.
5. Versatile nickel-lanthanum(III) catalyst for direct conversion of cellulose to glycols, ACS Catal., 2015, 5, 874-883.
6. FeOx-supported platinum single-atom and pseudo-single-atom catalysts for chemoselective hydrogenation of functionalized nitroarenes, Nat. Commun., 2014, 5, 5634.
7. Single-atom catalysts: A new frontier in heterogeneous catalysis, Acc. Chem. Res., 2013, 46, 1740-1748.
8. One-pot conversion of cellulose to ethylene glycol with multifunctional Tungsten-based catalysts, Acc. Chem. Res., 2013, 46, 1377-1386.
9. Remarkable performance of Ir1/FeOx single-atom catalyst in water gas shift reaction, J. Am. Chem. Soc., 2013, 135, 15314-15317.
10. Design of a highly active Ir/Fe(OH)x catalyst: Versatile application of Pt-group metals for the preferential oxidation of carbon monoxide, Angew. Chem. Int. Ed., 2012, 51, 2920-2924.
11. One-pot catalytic hydrocracking of raw woody biomass into chemicals over supported carbide catalysts: Simultaneous conversion of cellulose, hemicellulose and lignin, Energy Environ. Sci., 2012, 5, 6383-6390.
12. A noble-metal-free catalyst derived from Ni-Al hydrotalcite for hydrogen generation from N2H4·H2O decomposition, Angew. Chem. Int. Ed., 2012, 51, 6191-6194.
13. Single-atom catalysis of CO oxidation using Pt1/FeOx, Nat. Chem., 2011, 3, 634-641.
14. Direct catalytic conversion of cellulose into ethylene glycol using Nickel-promoted Tungsten carbide catalysts, Angew. Chem. Int. Ed., 2008, 47, 8510-8513.
Representative research results:
Design and synthesis of nano- and subnano catalytic materials
Supported metal catalysts are widely used in catalytic conversion reactions. Our group focuses on development of new support materials and new synthesis methods to obtain well-dispersed and homogeneously distributed metal catalysts. Representative progresses are listed below:
1. Single atom catalysis
Dispersing noble metals as isolated single atoms on a metal oxide support is the long-awaited dream of catalysis, which may lead to low-cost industrial catalysts and address questions in fundamental catalytic science. Developed in 2011 by a collaborative team led by Prof. Tao Zhang, Prof. Jun Li, and Prof. Jingyue Liu, the first single atom catalyst Pt1/FeOx was successfully prepared by a wet-chemistry method, which is highly active for both CO oxidation and preferential oxidation of CO and keeps stable during the reaction (Nature Chem. 2011, 3, 634-641).
2. Design and synthesis of bimetallic catalysts
Bimetallic catalysts have replaced many monometallic catalysts for a wide range of catalytic applications, due to their enhanced selectivity, stability, and/or activity relative to their corresponding monometallic components. Several families of bimetallic catalysts have been developed in our group including Au-M (Ag, Cu and Pd), and Ni-NM (Pt, Ir, Rh)( Chem. Commun. 2008, 3187-3189).
Catalytic conversion of biomass
Biomass is a renewable and alternative source. While it has a tremendous potential to alleviate problems caused by fossil fuels, the major impediment to utilization of biomass resources is the lack of cost-effective processes for conversion of biomass resources. The goal of our group is to develop innovative and strategic approaches for conversion of biomass into value-added chemicals and liquid fuels based on catalytic technology, and to understand the mechanisms behind these transformations. Representative progresses are listed below:
1. Catalytic conversion of cellulose into ethylene glycol and other polyols
In 2008, we discovered a new reaction that selectively converts cellulose into ethylene glycol, by using less expensive tungsten-based catalysts. Especially, when small amount of nickel was added as a promoter, the selectivity to glycol could be as high as 61% (Angew. Chem. Int. Ed. 2008, 47, 8510-8513; Acc. Chem. Res. 2013, 46, 1377-1386). Following the above discovery, we further developed a series of tungsten based bimetallic catalysts for this reaction (ChemSusChem. 2010, 3, 63-66). In the meantime, by employing a new 3D interconnected mesoporous carbon as the support, we obtained a highly active, selective, and robust tungsten carbide catalyst for the production of EG from cellulose (Chem. Commun. 2010, 46, 862-864). More recently, raw biomass such as corn stalk, jerusalem artichoke tuber have been applied for the one-pot efficiently production of polyols (Ind. Eng. Chem. Res. 2011, 50, 6601; ChemSusChem. 2012, 5, 932-938).
2. Hydrolysis of cellulose
Among various cellulose conversion processes, hydrolysis of cellulose to glucose is virtually an essential but difficult step. In our recent work, the hydrolysis of cellulose over sulfonated carbons was promoted greatly by elevating the sulfonation temperature. With 250 oC sulfonated CMK-3 as a catalyst, the cellulose was selectively hydrolyzed into glucose with the yield as high as 74.5%, which is the highest level reported so far on solid acid catalysts (Chem. Commun. 2010, 46, 6935-6937).
3. Catalytic conversion of lignin to chemicals and fuel
In plants, lignin accounts for up to 35% by weight and it is the only large renewable bio-source of aromatics in nature. In this project, we aim to the production of high-value bulk aromatic chemicals and alkane fuels by the combination of catalytic strategies and new solvents. With our previously developed Ni-W2C/AC catalyst, the lignin component in raw woody biomass could be effectively hydrocracked to monophenols with impressive yields without any pretreatment. (Energy Environ. Sci. 2012, 5, 6383-6390).