We are pleased to announce that Dr. Kim Larmier is the recipient of the 2017 EFCTAS Best PhD Award, administered by the European Federation of Catalysis Societies. The Award will be presented at EuropaCat XIII (Florence, Italy, August 2017) or at a fitting occasion thereafter.
This Award recognizes the best PhD Thesis in the field of catalysis with emphasis on theoretical or experimental discovery and understanding. Dr. Larmier is being specifically recognized for his investigation of isopropanol dehydration on alumina-based catalysts by a mixed experimental - multiscale modeling approach. Isopropanol is an important intermediate in the conversion of lignocellulosic biomass into fuels and substances for the chemical industry, and its dehydration, often used as a test reaction for acidic properties, yields propene and diisopropylether depending on the experimental conditions. A combination of experiments and Density Functional Theory calculations led Kim Larmier to single out specific active sites and mechanisms for the two pathways of isopropanol dehydration on gamma-alumina and silicated alumina catalysts, leading to predictive kinetic models that evidence the key influence of water and alcohol coverage on the reaction selectivity. This work, supported by a scholarship from ENS Paris, was performed at Sorbonne Universités - UPMC (Paris, France) under the supervision of Hélène Lauron-Pernot and Eric Marceau, in collaboration with Céline Chizallet, Sylvie Maury and Nicolas Cadran from IFP Energies nouvelles (Solaize, France). Kim Larmier is currently a post-doctoral researcher in the group of Prof. Copéret at ETH Zürich.