Avelino Corma Canós, Co-Founder of the Institute of Chemical Technology (ITQ) of the Polytechnical University of Valencia, Spain, and the Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Científicas (CSIC), has received the European Inventor Award for Lifetime Achievement from the European Patent Office (EPO). The prize was presented during a ceremony in Valencia, Spain, on July 4, 2023.
The European Inventor Award is one of Europe’s most prestigious innovation prizes and honors individuals and teams who have come up with solutions to some of the biggest challenges of our time, contributing to technical progress, social and sustainable development, and economic prosperity. The lifetime achievement prize, in particular, honors the long-term contribution of an individual European inventor whose dedication, tireless efforts, and patented landmark inventions have had a major impact on their technical field and society.
Avelino Corma’s research focuses on the design of mono- and multifunctional solid catalysts with isolated and/or well-defined catalytic active sites. His work includes the synthesis, characterization, and catalytic activity investigation of microporous crystalline materials such as zeolites, hybrid organic-inorganic materials, and metallic clusters and nanoparticles. Corma has also worked on fundamental aspects of acid-base and redox catalysis. He has developed catalysts that are being used commercially in several industrial processes. Corma has nearly 200 European patent applications as inventor or co-inventor.
Corma receives the award for this work on synthetic catalysts, especially the development of synthetic zeolites. Synthetic zeolites can be used in a variety of catalytic processes, e.g., in fuel production. They are applied in a wide range of industries, including refining and petrochemistry, pharmaceuticals, and cosmetics.
Life and Career
Avelino Corma was born in Moncofa, Castellón, Spain, in 1951. He studied chemistry at the University of Valencia and completed his Ph.D. at the University Complutense of Madrid, Spain, in 1977. This was followed by a postdoctoral stay at Queen’s University, Kingston, Canada. In 1979, Corma started working as a researcher at the Instituto de Catalysis in Madrid/CSIC, and he became a Research Professor in 1987. He co-founded ITQ, a center for research in the areas of catalysis, new materials, and photochemistry, in 1990.
Among many other awards, Corma has received the Paul Sabatier Prize from the French Chemical Society (Société Chimique de France, SCF) in 2006, the Gabor A. Somorjai Award for Creative Research in Catalysis in 2008, the Royal Society of Chemistry (RSC) Centenary Prize in 2010, the Prince of Asturias Award for Technical & Scientific Research in 2014, the Blaise Pascal Medal for Chemistry from the European Academy of Sciences in 2018, the Heinz Heinemann Award from The International Association of Catalysis Societies (IACS) in 2020, and the Santiago Grisolia Prize for Professional Work in the Field of Scientific Research in 2022.
- Low-oxidation-state Ru sites stabilized in carbon-doped RuO2 with low-temperature CO2 activation to yield methane,
Carmen Tébar-Soler, Vlad Martin-Diaconescu, Laura Simonelli, Alexander Missyul, Virginia Perez-Dieste, Ignacio J. Villar-García, Jean-Blaise Brubach, Pascale Roy, Miguel Lopez Haro, Jose Juan Calvino, Patricia Concepción, Avelino Corma,
Nat. Mater. 2023, 22, 762–768.
- Bimetallic Sites for Catalysis: From Binuclear Metal Sites to Bimetallic Nanoclusters and Nanoparticles,
Lichen Liu, Avelino Corma,
Chem. Rev. 2023, 123, 4855–4933.
- Minimizing rare earth content of FCC catalysts: Understanding the fundamentals on combined P-La stabilization,
Cristina Martínez, Alejandro Vidal-Moya, Bilge Yilmaz, CP Kelkar, Avelino Corma,
Cat. Today 2023, 418, 114123.
- Metal–organic framework nanosheets in polymer composite materials for gas separation,
Tania Rodenas, Ignacio Luz, Gonzalo Prieto, Beatriz Seoane, Hozanna Miro, Avelino Corma, Freek Kapteijn, Francesc X. Llabrés i Xamena, Jorge Gascon,
Nat. Mater. 2014, 14, 48–55.
- Chemical Routes for the Transformation of Biomass into Chemicals,
Avelino Corma, Sara Iborra, Alexandra Velty,
Chem. Rev. 2007, 107, 2411–2502.
- Synergies between Bio- and Oil Refineries for the Production of Fuels from Biomass,
George W. Huber, Avelino Corma,
Angew. Chem. Int. Ed. 2007, 46, 7184–7201.
- Chemoselective Hydrogenation of Nitro Compounds with Supported Gold Catalysts,
Avelino Corma, Pedro Serna,
Science 2006, 313, 332–334.
- Synthesis of Transportation Fuels from Biomass: Chemistry, Catalysts, and Engineering,
George W. Huber, Sara Iborra, Avelino Corma,
Chem. Rev. 2006, 106, 4044–4098.
- From Microporous to Mesoporous Molecular Sieve Materials and Their Use in Catalysis,
Chem. Rev. 1997, 97, 2373–2420.
Other European Inventor Award 2023 Laureates Include
The Finnish team of Pia Bergström, Annika Malm, Jukka Myllyoja, Jukka-Pekka Pasanen and Blanka Toukoniitty from the company Neste for turning waste into renewable fuel. Their work converts waste and residue raw materials, like animal fat waste and used cooking oil, into premium-quality renewable fuels. The renewable diesel reduces greenhouse gas emissions by between 75–95 % compared to fossil diesel, according to the inventors’ company.
Chinese inventor Kai Wu and team for lowering the risk of car explosions caused by lithium-ion batteries. Wu’s team developed a safety short circuit device (SSD), a protection device integrated into the battery. When triggered, the invention would stop the battery charging, thus eliminating the risk of battery failure caused by overcharging.
The French team of Patricia de Rango, Daniel Fruchart, Albin Chaise, Michel Jehan and Nataliya Skryabina for finding a safe and efficient way to store hydrogen. The team developed an atomic structure and process that results in safer, sustainable and more stable hydrogen storage.
Irish physicists Rhona Togher and Eimear O’Carroll invented a new material for preventing ear damage caused by noise. Their responsive material works to dampen sound, reducing noise transmission from one space to another. It can be integrated into household appliances and can be used also in the automotive, construction and aerospace industries.
1st Young Inventors Prize
Launched in 2022 this prize recognises the initiative and creativity of young people. The winner receives EUR 20 000.
Richard Turere is a 22-year-old Maasai inventor from Kenya who was deeply concerned with protecting his family’s livestock without endangering the local lion population. To address this issue, he developed Lion Lights™, a system that uses light sequences to deter lions and other predators from approaching livestock. It has been successfully adopted in multiple countries in Africa as well as in India and Latin America to deter various animals.
2nd Young Investor Prize
The second placed finalists receive EUR 10 000. Filipa de Sousa Rocha, a 27-year-old Portuguese computer engineer and researcher, is dedicated to enhancing digital learning for visually impaired children. Her invention allows children to send commands to a robot using directional movements or speech functions similar to playing a drag-and-drop computer game.
3rd Young Investor Prize
The third placed finalists receive EUR 5 000. Fionn Ferreira, a 22-year-old Irish inventor, whose passion for ocean conservation led him to uncover a solution for microplastic removal from water sources. He developed a unique magnetic liquid solution to eliminate microplastics from water. By binding to microplastic particles, his liquid allows for their separation from water sources, helping combat one of the world’s most pressing ecological challenges.
Chosen by the public, this year’s winner is the French research team of Patricia de Rango, Daniel Fruchart, Albin Chaise, Michel Jehan and Nataliya Skryabina, who also won in the ‘Research’ category for their hydrogen storage solution.