Full Professor

Emiel Hensen

Realizing the clean energy transition requires the development of advanced and competitive catalytic technology, to increase the share of renewable energy in the production of fuels and chemicals.


Research Profile

The research of Emiel Hensen focuses on the fundamental aspects of catalyzed reactions relevant to clean and sustainable processes for the production of fuels and chemicals. The aim hereby is to identify active sites and understand reaction mechanisms. The working approach is to combine advanced operando characterization methods - X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy, X-ray absorption spectroscopy, vibrational spectroscopy applied to well-defined catalyst model systems;theoretical modeling (density functional theory, microkinetics); andperformance testing (kinetics, high-throughput methods, transient techniques), to guide the design and synthesis of nanoscopically organized and well-defined chemically functionalized catalytic solid materials. The materials explored include primarily highly structured porous materials containing reactive centers such as protons, metal ions and metal, metal oxide and metal sulfides clusters. Applications are directed towards the improvement of current industrial chemical processes and novel processes based on renewable feedstock such as biomass. Catalytic target reactions are methane activation, the Fischer-Tropsch reaction, conversion of biogenic molecules such as sugars and lignin, and metal-support cooperativity in selective oxidation. In these areas of research Hensen has made many innovative, internationally recognized scientific contributions. Hensen has pioneered the fields of Lewis-acid catalysed conversion of sugars, catalytic upgrading of lignin, synthesis of hierarchical zeolites, and microkinetics simulations of heterogeneous reactions.

Academic Background

Emiel Hensen received his master degree in chemical engineering and chemistry from Eindhoven University of Technology (TU/e) in 1994. In 2000 he obtained his PhD from the same university in the field of molecular heterogeneous catalysis under the supervision of professors Rutger van Santen and Rob van Veen. He then took up an assistant professor position with Prof. Berend Smit at University of Amsterdam. In 2001 he returned to TU/e as an assistant professor and in 2008 he was promoted to associate professor. From 2006-2008 he was a visiting research scientist at the Shell Research and Technology Center Amsterdam (The Netherlands). Since July 2009 Hensen is full professor of inorganic materials chemistry at TU/e. He was a visiting professor at Katholieke Universiteit Leuven (Belgium) from 2001 until 2016 and a visiting professor at Hokkaido University (Japan) in 2016. Hensen was appointed dean of the TU/e department of Chemical Engineering and Chemistry in 2016. He is member of the Dutch Advanced Research Center Chemical Building Blocks Consortium and chairman of the Netherlands Institute for Catalysis Research (NIOK).

Educational Activities

  • Graduation Project CPT
  • Graduation Project MSMC
  • Catalysis science and technology
  • Modern concepts in catalysis
  • Advanced thermodynamics and kinetics
  • DBL Molecules and materials

Ancillary Activities

  • Bestuurslid (voorzitter), Nederlands Instituut voor Onderzoek in de Katalyse
  • Benoeming, beoordeling Bestuur ISPT Advies- en klankbord functie voor Bestuur ISPT Toezicht op beleid en algemene zaken van ISPT, Lid Raad van Toezicht ISPT
  • Lid Raad van Commissarissen, Hybrid Catalysis B.V.
  • Lid van de board, Board member of Chemelot InScite