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Eduardo Wolf

Eduardo Wolf

Contact Info

Phone: 574-631-5897
Office: 172 Fitzpatrick Hall


Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering Anthony Earley Professor of Energy and the Environment
College of Engineering Anthony Earley Professor of Energy and the Environment

Summary of Activities/Interests

Heterogeneous catalysts are used in 90% of chemical processes in the chemical and petroleum industries as ell as in environmental applications. Research in our group focuses in the rational design of novel catalytic materials and novel catalytic reactors. The research approach combines experimental techniques involving advanced high throughput catalysts evaluation techniques, with spectroscopic techniques to characterize the surface and the adsorbed intermediates involved in the reaction (See fig. 1) with theoretical simulations of reactions' pathways. High throughput experimentation includes infrared thermography followed by evaluation in a ten-channel parallel flow reactor. The most active catalysts is studied in detail by kinetics measurements, surface analysis, and microscopic techniques to determine the structure and composition of the surface. Characterization includes scanning probe microscopy (STM, AFM),, x-ray photoelectron spectroscopy (XPS), x-ray diffraction, x-ray absorption fine structure (EXAFS), and gas adsorption. The above information is used to develop a model of the surface that is integrated into either an elementary reaction model or in a Monte Carlo simulation to develop a structure-activity correlation and synthesize new catalysts based on this knowledge.

Current research projects are focused in the catalysis for the production and purification of hydrogen for fuel cells. Hydrogen is produced by catalytic reforming of hydrogen bearing molecules, such as methanol or hydrocarbons (fig. 2), and needs to be purified via the selective oxidation of carbon monoxide without oxidizing hydrogen. We are studying such reaction on new interfacial metal-oxide catalysts that are active and selective at low temperature. We are also studying the generation of hydrogen via the catalytic partial oxidation of methanol in a replaceable cartridge for small fuel cells. A novel method for catalysts preparation involving combustion synthesis is being developed in collaboration with Prof. A. Mukasyan.

Another line of research focuses on the partial oxidation of alkanes to olefins using a new membrane reactor that can operate under autothermal and safe conditions for oxidation reactions. Studies involving the rational design of new selective catalysts by high throughput methods and modeling the membrane reactor are underway for the partial oxidation of propane to acrolein.

A further advanced project involving the microfabrication of supported catalysts is underway with Oak Ridge National Laboratories.


B.S. Civil and Chemical Engineering, University of Chile (1969)

M.S. Chemical Engineering, University of California, Davis (1972)

Ph.D. Chemical Engineering, University of California, Berkeley (1975)


Assistant Professor, University of Notre Dame (1975-1979)
Associate Professor, University of Notre Dame (1979-1985)
Visiting Researcher, Exxon Research Development Labs, Baton Rouge (1983)
Professor, University of Notre Dame (1985-present)
Visiting Scientist, Istitute de Recherches sur la Catalize, Lyon, France (1990)
Visiting Scientist, Instituto Polutecno de Valencia, Spain (1997)
Visiting Professor, Caltech (1997)
Visiting Scientist, Universita de Bologna, Bologna, Italy (2005)
Anthony Earley Professor of Energy and the Environment (2013)

Professional Activities

Founder and first president of the AICHE Catalysis and Reaction Engineering Division (1996)

Member of Editorial Board: Catalysis Letters, Catalysis Reviews Science and Engineering, Topics in Catalysis, Applied Catalysis (2000-2010)


V Subramanian, R. Roeder and E.E. Wolf. Synthesis and UV-visible- Light Photoactivity of Noble-Metal-SrTiO3 composites. Ind. Eng. Chem. Res., 45:2187-2193, 2006. 

C.O'Neil and E.E. Wolf. Yield improvement in Membrane Reactors for Partial Oxidation Reactions. Ind. Eng Chem Research, 45:2697-2706, 2006. 

S. Schuyten and E.E. Wolf. Selective combinatorial studies of Ce and Zr promoted Pd-Cu/Zn catalyst for hydrogen production via oxidative reforming of methanol. Catalysis Letters, 106:7-14, 2006. 

F. Gracia, J. Miller, J. Kropf , and E.E. Wolf. In-situ FTIR, EXAFS, and activity studies of the effect of SO2 on Pt/Al2O3 catalysts during CO oxidation. J. Catalysis, 233:372-387, 2005. 

A.P Wieber and E.E. Wolf. An STM study of phosphoric acid inhibition of the oxidation of HOPG and carbon catalyzed by alkali salts. Carbon, 44:2069-2079, 2006. 

S. Schuyten, D. J. Suh, and E.E. Wolf. R. Potyrailo and W.F. Maier (Eds.). (2006). Combinatorial and High-Throughput Discovery and Optimization of Catalysts and Materials. CRC Press. 


Kaneb Award for Creative Teaching

Ibedrola Award for Visiting Scientists, Spain