Norbert Kruse joins WSU as Voiland distinguished professor

KrusePULLMAN, Wash. – Norbert Kruse, an internationally known researcher in the area of catalysis, has joined the Washington State University faculty as Voiland distinguished professor.

In 2008, Gene and Linda Voiland made a significant gift to the School of Chemical Engineering and Bioengineering, which was subsequently named in their honor. The gift has allowed the school to advance research and scholarship and to hire faculty in the area of new energy conversion technology.

Improving the efficiency of catalysts, which are used in many industries to chemically transform and create products and fuel, is an important factor in increasing supplies, reducing costs and decreasing environmental impacts of petroleum-based and alternative fuels. Yong Wang, an internationally known energy and renewable fuels researcher, was hired in 2009 as the first Voiland distinguished professor.

“With the addition of Norbert Kruse to the Voiland School, we are cementing our position as a national leader in the important field of catalysis,’’ said Jim Petersen, school director. “I look forward to further building our reputation in this important research area, which is critical to the chemical and fuel industries and has a significant impact on the national economy.’’

Kruse comes to WSU from the Free University of Brussels, where he has been a professor since 1994. He has published approximately 170 peer-reviewed papers and holds two patents.

He is a leading researcher in the area of heterogeneous catalysis, in which a solid material, the catalyst, is used to accelerate a chemical reaction between gaseous molecules. Kruse’s work is focused on developing sustainable catalytic processes by using renewable feedstocks.

The aim is to produce chemicals with high selectivity to avoid releasing harmful waste into the atmosphere. With this background he is looking at new ways to design solid catalysts using nanotechnology.

To provide a sound understanding of the catalytic processes, he has also developed imaging techniques with molecular resolution capable of monitoring the ongoing reaction. In this way he has demonstrated that many catalytic reactions in air pollution control are strongly non-linear and sometimes oscillatory.
Kruse has served as editor-in chief of two journals, Catalysis Letters and Topics in Catalysis, and is president of the International Field Emission Society, a professional group focused on scientific and technical developments in high-field nanoscience and atom probe tomography.

He is a member of the supervisory board of BOSAL Company, a leading manufacturer of exhaust systems and catalytic converters, and has served as executive chairman of the Congress on Catalysis and Automotive Pollution Control.

He holds a Ph.D. from the Technical University of Berlin after research studies at the Fritz-Haber Institute of the Max Planck Society in Berlin. He received a diploma in chemistry and chemical reaction engineering from the same university. He will hold a joint appointment at WSU and at Pacific Northwest National Laboratory in Richland, Wash.