Harold Kung Receives Wilhelm Award

The award recognizes Kung’s work in reaction engineering and catalysis

Harold H. Kung, Walter P. Murphy Professor of Chemical and Biological Engineering at Northwestern University, has received the 2015 R.H. Wilhelm Award in Chemical Reaction Engineering from the American Institute of Chemical Engineers (AIChE). 

Kung will officially accept the award at the AIChE Annual Meeting this November in Salt Lake City. The 2016 meeting will hold a session in his honor.

Harold KungOne of the highest honors in the field, the Wilhelm Award recognizes one researcher each year who has demonstrated overall excellence in reaction engineering and catalysis, service to society, and service to the AIChE. Sponsored by the ExxonMobil Research and Engineering Company, the award includes a $3,000 prize.

A world leader in developing new materials and processes for a sustainable world, Kung's research group focuses on new materials for efficient energy storage and novel catalytic material and reactions, which are integral parts of most environmentally friendly, energy- and material-efficient chemical processes. He is recognized for his elucidation of relationships between chemical and catalytic properties of catalysts and innovative applications of catalysis to environmental remediation and efficient resource utilization. He is a leader in effecting catalytic conversion of hydrocarbons to higher value chemicals using oxygen in the atmosphere, while minimizing waste generation and energy consumption. 

Kung discovered a material related to advances in lithium-ion batteries, which was another highlight of his research in the broad area of sustainability and renewable energy. Kung developed an electrode that allows batteries to charge 10 times faster and hold a charge up to 10 times greater than current batteries. This technology is being developed by a company for introduction in the marketplace. He was also one of the drivers behind the Institute for Sustainability and Energy at Northwestern, which was established in 2008 to advance global energy and sustainability solutions through transformational research. 

Kung has received numerous honors and awards, including the Dorothy Ann and Clarence L. Ver Steeg Distinguished Research Fellowship, Gabor A. Somojai Award from the American Chemical Society, Paul H. Emmett Award and Robert L. Burwell Lectureship from the North American Catalysis Society, Earnest Thiele Award of the Chicago section of the AIChE, and Herman Pines Award from the Chicago Catalysis Club. He also served as director of the Center for Catalysis and Surface Science (1993 to 97) and chair of his department (1986 to 1992).