Catalyst gets the gold

Professor Graham Hutchings, head of Cardiff University’s School of Chemistry, Cardiff, Wales, has won the Institution of Chemical Engineers’ 2004 Entec Medal for excellence in safety and environment in recognition of his work on gold catalysts for hydrogen peroxide synthesis. This work was done in collaboration with Professor David Chadwick at Imperial College London and researchers at Johnson Matthey

Gold catalysts make it possible to produce hydrogen peroxide directly from hydrogen and oxygen, which has potential application in fine chemical synthesis, as well as in bleaching and cleaning applications.

Until the 1980s, gold was considered to be an inactive metal for catalysis. Hutchings’ research supports one of the most important developments of the last 20 years in this field, which recognizes gold as the new catalyst of the decade.

“I am delighted that the work in Cardiff’s School of Chemistry has been recognized by this prestigious award,” Hutchings says. “Catalysis by gold is a fast-growing subject and this award, following as it does a run of awards for our school, strengthens our position as one of the leading chemistry schools in the United Kingdom carrying out world-class advances in research.”

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