Fuelling the future: How catalysis may contribute to a more sustainable society

14 December 2017 from 14:30 to 19:00 hrs
Academiegebouw Utrecht University, Domplein 29, 3512 JE Utrecht
020 551 0767
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What can we learn from our knowledge of fossil fuels as we transition to a society in which most of our energy comes from the sun, wind and biomass? And where, in all of this, does catalysis come in?

Over the past two centuries, we have been using fossil resources to help industry and society move forward – often literally. Catalysis plays a vital role in all these processes, not least because it has made our environment cleaner. But 'cleaner' doesn’t cut it nowadays: if we want to tackle the energy and environmental issues of the future, we need to switch to the most sustainable system available.


  • Ib Chorkendorff, Professor, Technical University of Denmark – All of Ib Chorkendorff’s research has one major common denominator: the development of new materials for the conversion and storage of renewable energy in fuels.
  • Marjan van Loon, Vice-President of Shell – Van Loon knows the chemical industry like no other. In her lecture, she will focus on its sustainability targets and the contribution it can make to this issue.
  • Regina Palkovits, Professor for Heterogeneous Catalysis and Chemical Technology, RWTH Aachen University – Palkovits and her group investigate how to create new catalysts that can help convert biomass into fuels and chemical building blocks, for example for plastics. In her lecture, she explains what her biomass research entails and where catalysis comes in.
  • Peter Paul Verbeek, Professor of Philosophy of Technology, University of Twente – Verbeek looks at technology and design in a completely different way than most people: He studies the extent to which people and technology are intertwined and what that means for our daily lives. In his lecture, Verbeek explains the connection between technology, society and ethics.
  • Chemist Bert Weckhuysen, Professor of Inorganic Chemistry and Catalysis, Utrecht University and Scientific Director of the Netherlands Research Center for Multiscale Catalytic Energy Conversion (MCEC), is the symposium moderator.


You are most welcome to attend the symposium. Participation is free, but registration is required. You can register by submitting the online form at the MCEC website.