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Friederike Jentoft Receives $550,000 Grant to Continue Pioneering Work on Acid Catalysis

Friederike Jentoft

Friederike Jentoft

Professor Friederike Jentoft of the Chemical Engineering Department has been awarded a $550,000 grant from the U.S. Department of Energy (DoE) Office of Science Financial Assistance Program to continue her groundbreaking work on acid catalyst design. Acid catalysis plays a key role in commercially established and emerging processes to produce chemicals and fuels by efficient transformation of petroleum- or biomass-derived feedstocks.

The News Office article explains that Jentoft’s DoE project focuses on acid-catalyzed processes that are characterized by long-lived surface species, which are often trapped in the pores of a solid catalyst. The objective of Jentoft’s project is to unravel the nature and reactivity of such species and to use this knowledge to design better catalysts and more efficient chemical processes by promoting the target reaction while suppressing side product formation and deactivation.

As Jentoft says about her research laboratory, “Our research interest is in catalysis. Catalysts facilitate chemical reactions and are ubiquitous in the industrial production of chemicals and fuels. Our goal is to understand how catalytic reactions proceed and how performance of a catalyst is linked to its composition and structure.”

Jentoft goes on to explain that “With this knowledge, we seek to design novel, more effective catalysts. Key competences of our laboratory are in the areas of catalyst preparation, structural and surface characterization, kinetics analysis, and spectroscopic monitoring of the adsorption and reaction of molecules on surfaces. In this DOE-funded project, we will apply our expertise in measuring and interpreting infrared and ultraviolet-visible spectra of zeolite catalysts under catalytic operation conditions.”

Jentoft has a long and varied background in this kind of research. Before coming to UMass Amherst in 2014, she served as: an associated collaborator for the Siemens AG Power Generation Group, Munich/Erlangen/Redwitz; a research assistant at Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität in Munich; a postdoctoral researcher at the University of California, Davis; a group leader at the Fritz Haber Institute of the Max Planck Society in Berlin; and a professor at the University of Oklahoma in Norman.

Among Jentoft’s many honors, she has received the Carl Zerbe Award of the DGMK association (1996) and a Young Scientists Prize of the International Association of Catalysis Societies (2000). She was a member and chair (2009-2013) of the Acid-Base-Catalysis Board of Directors (2005-2013), she was on the Editorial Board of Applied Catalysis A: General (2007-2010), she served as an associate editor and editor of Advances in Catalysis (2008-2015), and she was on the International Advisory Board of ChemCatChem (2013-2016).

In addition, she received the Anadarko Petroleum Corporation Presidential Professorship (2014) and the Excellence in Catalysis Award from the Catalysis Society of Metropolitan New York (2018). (September 2020)

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