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The Gene and Linda Voiland School of Chemical Engineering and Bioengineering

Faculty & Staff

Yong Wang

Yong Wang

Yong Wang, Ph.D.
Regents Professor
Voiland Distinguished Professor
2008 Voiland School Alumni Awardee

Curriculum Vitae
Google Scholar

Development of novel catalytic materials and reaction engineering for the conversion of fossil and biomass feedstocks to fuels and chemicals

Office: 153 Wegner Hall 📞509-371-6273

The Gene and Linda Voiland
School of Chemical Engineering and Bioengineering
1505 Stadium Way, Room 105
P.O. Box 646515
Washington State University
Pullman, WA 99164-6515


Dr. Wang joined Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL) in 1994 and was elevated to the position of Laboratory Fellow in 2005. He led the Catalysis and Reaction Engineering Team from 2000 to 2007 and has served as the Associate Director of the Institute for Integrated Catalysis (IIC) since 2008. In 2009, he assumed a joint appointment at Washington State University (WSU) and PNNL, where he continues to hold the title of Laboratory Fellow and Associate Director of IIC at PNNL, and is also the Voiland Distinguished Professor in Chemical Engineering at WSU. In 2022, Dr. Wang received the distinguished title of Regents Professor, a recognition awarded to only 30 faculty members at WSU at any given time.

Dr. Wang is best known for his leadership in the development of novel catalytic materials and reaction engineering to address the issues related to energy and atom efficiency for converting fossil and biomass feedstocks to fuels and chemicals. He is committed to exploring sustainable technologies that can address the energy, resource, and environmental challenges of today and the future. With over 400 peer-reviewed publications in leading scientific journals such as Science, Nature, Science Advances, Nature group journals, J.Am.Chem.Soc, Angewandte Chemie, ACS Catalysis, Applied Catal. B, and Journal of Catalysis, he has an H-index of 91 and more than 37,400 citations. He has co-edited two books and six special journal issues and given over 200 invited presentations since 2001. He holds 284 issued patents, including 110 issued U.S. patents, with more than 90% of them licensed to industries. His research on microchannel reaction technologies led to the creation of Velocys, a company listed on the London Stock Exchange.

Dr. Wang is a member of the Washington State Academy of Sciences and a fellow of several esteemed organizations, including the National Academy of Inventors, American Institute of Chemical Engineers, American Society of Chemistry, Royal Society of Chemistry, and American Association for the Advancement of Science. He has received numerous awards and recognition, including the 2021 ACS E.V. Murphree Award in Industrial and Engineering Chemistry, the 2019 AIChE Catalysis and Reaction Engineering Practice Award, the 2018 American Chemical Society I&EC Division Fellow Award, the 2006 Asian American Engineer of the Year Award, the Presidential Green Chemistry Award, three R&D 100 Awards, a Distinguished Alumni Achievement Award from the Chemical Engineering program at WSU, two PNNL Inventor of the Year Awards, a Battelle Distinguished Inventor Award, and was the first recipient of the PNNL Laboratory Director’s Award for Exceptional Scientific Achievement.

He has served as the past chair of the Energy & Fuel Division of the American Chemical Society, as well as a past director of the Catalysis and Reaction Engineering Division of AIChE. He is currently serving as Co-Editor-in-Chief of Applied Catalysis B and Executive Editor of the Chemical Engineering Journal.

Education and Credentials

  • Ph.D., Chemical Engineering, Washington State University, 1993
  • M.S., Chemical Engineering, Washington State University, 1992

Selected Awards and Honors

  • The 2021 American Chemical Society E.V. Murphree Award in Industrial and Engineering Chemistry (2020) 
  • The American Institute of Chemical Engineers Catalysis and Reaction Engineering Division Practice Award (2019)
  • The American Chemical Society I&EC Division Fellow Award (2018)
  • Fellow of the National Academy of Inventors (2015)
  • Member of the Washington State Academy of Science (2015)
  • Fellow of AIChE (American Institute of Chemical Engineers) (2013)
  • Fellow of RSC (Royal Society of Chemistry) (2013)
  • Fellow of ACS (The American Chemical Society) (2010)
  • Fellow of AAAS (The American Association for the Advancement of Science) (2008)
  • R&D 100 Award, Fischer-Tropsch fuels using Velocys microchannel technology (2008)
  • R&D 100 Award, full-scale vaporizer for automotive fuel cell fuel processor (1999)
  • R&D 100 Award, production of chemicals from biologically derived succinic acid (1997)
  • Presidential Green Chemistry Award, use of biomass to produce useful chemicals (1999)
  • Distinguished Alumni Achievement Award, Dept of Chem.Eng., Washington State University (2008)
  • Asian American Engineer of the Year Award (2006)
  • 2020 Safety Award, Voiland College of Engineering and Architecture, Washington State University (2020)  
  • PNNL Inventor of the Year (2006)
  • PNNL Inventor of the Year (2004)
  • Distinguished Battelle Inventor (2004)
  • First recipient of PNNL Laboratory Director’s Award for Exceptional Scientific Achievement (2005)
  • Scientific advisory board, Center for Environmental Beneficial Catalysis Center, University of Kansas (2011–2017)

Selected Society Participation

  • Co-Editor-in-Chief, Applied Catalysis B (2023-present)
  • Executive Editor, Chemical Engineering Journal (2022-present)
  • Editor, Applied Catalysis B: Environmental (2022)
  • Editorial board, ACS Catalysis (2010–2021)
  • Editorial board, JACS Au (2020-present)
  • Editorial board, Catalysis Today (2006–present)
  • Editor of Journal of Energy Chemistry (2012–2017)
  • Editorial board, Journal of Nanomaterials (2005–2020)
  • Editorial board, Biofuel Research Journal (2014-present)
  • Editorial board, Chinese Journal of Catalysis (2014-present)
  • Honorary Chairman of Trends in Renewable Energy (Future Energy Service and Publishing), (2015-present)
  • Chair elect, ACS Petroleum Division (2011)
  • Co-Chair, ACS Energy & Fuel Division (2012)
  • Chair, Program Committee of the ACS Petroleum division (2006 –2008)
  • Secretary of Pacific Coast Catalysis Society (2006–2009)
  • Director to the Catalysis and Reaction Engineering Division of AIChE (American Institute of Chemical Engineers) (2015-2017)

Selected Recent Publications

  • Li, X. I. P. Hernandez, Y. Chen, J. Xu, J. Zhao, C. Pao, C.-Y. Fang, J. Zeng*, Y. Wang*, B. C. Gates*, J. Liu*, “Functional CeOx Nanoglues for Robust Atomically Dispersed Catalysts”, Nature, 2022, doi: 10.1038/s41586-022-05251-6.
  • F.Lin, W.Hu, N.R.Jaegers, F.Gao, J.Hu, H.Wang, Y.Wang, “Elucidation of the roles of water on the reactivity of surface intermediates in carboxylic acid ketonization on TiO2“, J.Am.Chem.Soc., 2022, DOI: 10.1021/jacs.2c08511.
  • M.Tan, Y.Yang, Y.Yang, J.Chen, Y.Yang, Z.Zhang, J.Lin, S.Wan, S.Wang, Y.Wang, “Hydrogen spillover assisted by oxygenate molecules over nonreducible oxides”, Nature Comm., (2022)13:1457,
  • Y.Wu, Y.Ma, Y.Wang, K.Rappe, N.Washton, Y.Wang, E.Walter, F.Gao, Feng, “Rate Controlling in Low-temperature Standard NH3-SCR: Implications from Operando EPR Spectroscopy and Reaction Kinetics”, J.Am.Chem.Soc., 2022,  144, 22, 9734–9746
  • H.Peng, T.Dong, S.Yang, H. Chen, Z.Yang, W.Liu, C.He, P.Wu, J.Tian, Y.Peng, X.Chu, D.Wu, T.An, Y.Wang, S.Dai, “Intra-crystalline mesoporous zeolite encapsulation-derived thermally robust metal nanocatalyst in deep oxidation of light alkanes”, Nature Comm., 2022, 13, 295. DOI: 10.1038/s41467-021-27828-x.
  • D.Jiang, Y. Yao, T. Li, G.Wan, X.Pereira-HernĂĄndez, Y.Lu, J.Tian, K.Khivantsev, M.H. Engelhard, C.Sun, C.E. GarcĂ­a-Vargas, A,S. Hoffman, S. R. Bare, A.K. Datye, L.Hu, Y.Wang, “Tailoring the Local Environment of Pt in Single-Atom Pt1/CeO2 Catalysts for Robust Low-Temperature CO Oxidation”, Angewandte Chemie.Int.Ed, 2021, DOI: 10.1002/anie.202108585/li>
  • H.Xiong, D.Kunwar, D.Jiang, C.E. GarcĂ­a-Vargas, H.Li, C.Du, G.Canning, X.I.Pereira-Hernandez, Q.Wan, S.Lin, S.C.Purdy, J.T.Miller, K.Leung, S.S.Chou, H.H.Brongersma, Rik ter Veen, J.Huang, H.Guo*, Y.Wang*, A.K.Datye*, “Engineering catalyst supports to stabilize PdOx two-dimensional rafts for water-tolerant methane oxidation”, Nature Catalysis, 2021, doi: 10.1038/s41929-021-00680-4.
  • K.Khivantsev, N.R.Jaegers, H.A.Aleksandrov, L.Kovarik, M.A.Derewinski, Y.Wang, G.N. Vayssilov, J.Szanyi, “Biomimetic CO oxidation below -100 ⁰C by a nitrate-containing metal-free microporous system”, Nature Comm., 2021, doi:10.26434/chemrxiv.12368876.v1
  • K.Khivantsev, X.Wei, L. Kovarik, N.R.Jaegers, E.D.Walter, P.Tran, Y.Wang, J.Szanyi, “Pd/FER vs Pd/SSZ-13 Passive NOx Adsorbers: Adsorbate-controlled Location of Atomically Dispersed Pd(II) in FER Determines High Activity and Stability”, Angewandte Chemie.Int.Ed, 2021, DOI: 10.1002/anie.202107554
  • H.Li, Q.Wan, C. Du, Q. Liu, J. Qi, X. Ding, S. Wang, S.Wan, J. Lin, C.Tian, L. Li, T.Peng, W.Zhao, H. Zhang, J. Huang, H. Guo, S.Lin, A.K.Datye, H.Xiong, Y. Wang, “Vapor-Phase Self-Assembly to Generate Single Atom Catalysts with Weak Metal-Support Interaction”, Chem, 2021, DOI: 10.2139/ssrn.3835429
  • Lin, H.Wang, Y. Zhao, J.Fu, D.Mei, N.Jaegers, F.Gao, Y. Wang, “Elucidation of Active Sites in Aldol Condensation of Acetone over Single-Facet Dominant Anatase TiO2 (101) and (001) Catalysts”, JACS Au, 2020, DOI: 10.1021/jacsau.0c00028
  • J.Tian, J.Tan, Z.Zhang, P.Han, M.Yin, S. Wan, J.Lin, S.Wang, Y. Wang, “Direct Conversion of Methane to Formaldehyde and CO on B2O3 Catalysts”, Nature Comm., 2020, doi: 10.1038/s41467-020-19517-y
  • K.Khivantsev, C.Vargas, J.Tian, L.Kovarik, N.R. Jaegers, J.Szanyi, Y.Wang, “Economizing on Precious Metals in Three-Way Catalysts: Thermally Stable and Highly Active Single-Atom Rhodium on Ceria for NO Abatement under Dry and Industrially Relevant Conditions”, Angew.Chem.Int.Ed., 2020, DOI: 10.1002/anie.202010815 and 10.1002/ange.202010815
  • L.Du, V.Prabhakaran, X.Xie, S.Park, Y.Wang, Y.Shao, “Low-PGM and PGM-Free Catalysts for Proton Exchange Membrane Fuel Cells: Stability Challenges and Material Solutions”, Advanced Materials, 2020, doi:10.1002/adma.201908232
  • N.R. Jaegers, J.Lai, Y.He, E.Walter, D.A. Dixon, M.Vasiliu, Y.Chen, C.Wang, M.Y.Hu, K.T.Mueller, I.E. Wachs, Y.Wang, J.Hu, “Tungsten oxide-promotion mechanism for supported TiOcatalysts during NOx abatement: structural effects revealed by V MAS NMR”, Angew.Chem.Int.Ed., 2019, 58(36) 12609-12616, doi:10.1002/anie.201904503.
  • X.Isidro Pereira-HernĂĄndez, A.DeLaRiva, V.Muravev, D.Kunwar, H.Xiong, B.Sudduth, M.Engelhard, L.Kovarik, E.J.M. Hensen, Y.Wang, A.K.Datye, “Tailoring the activity of Pt/CeO2 catalysts via high-temperature vapor-phase synthesis”, Nature Comm., 2019, doi:10.1038/s41467-019-09308-5.
  • J.Tian, J.Tan, M.Xu, Z.Zhang, S.Wan, S.Wang, J.Lin, Y.Wang, “Propane oxidative dehydrogenation over highly selective hexagonal boron nitride catalysts: the role of oxidative coupling of methyl”, Science Advances, 2019, doi: 10.1126/sciadv.aav8063.
  • L.Nie, D.Mei, H.Xiong, B.Peng, Z.Ren,X.Hernandez, A.DeLaRiva, M.Wang, M.H. Engelhard, L. Kovarik, A.K. Datye, Y.Wang, “Activation of surface lattice oxygen in single-atom Pt/CeO2 for low-temperature CO oxidation”, Science, 2017, 358, 1419-1423, doi: 10.1126/science.aao2109.
  • J.Jones, H.Xiong, A.T. DeLaRiva, E.J. Peterson, H.Pham, S.R. Challa, G.Qi, S.Oh, M.H. Wiebenga, X.HernĂĄndez, Y.Wang, A.K. Datye, “Thermallystable single-atom platinum-on-ceria catalysts via atomtrapping”, Science, 2016, 353(6295), 150-154. doi: 10.1126/science.aaf8800.
  • J.Sun, R.A.L.Baylon, C.Liu, D.Mei, K.J.Martin, P.Venkitasubramanian, Y.Wang, “Key roles of Lewis acid-base pairs on ZnxZryOz in direct ethanol/acetone to isobutene conversion”, J.Am.Chem.Soc., 2016, 2, 507-517. doi: 10.1021/jacs.5b07401.

Research Highlights

Cover of ACS Catalysis. November 4, 2022. Vol 12 Number 21. Atom trapping produces Cu1 single atoms bound to the step-defects of CeO2 that activate both lattice and adatom oxygen species through dynamic charge modulation, enabling resilient low-temperature CO Oxidation activity over highly variable thermal and environmental changes.

Cover of JACS AU Magazine. July 2022. Vol 2 Number 7. The active OlatticeH on Pt1/CeO2-S, being essentially the activated lattice oxygen by the steam treatment, is highly “oxidative” to realize the low-temperature oxidation of HCHO, which is intrinsically distinct from the surface OH formed through water dissociation on the metal oxides that is more related with acid–base chemistry.

Cover of ACS Catalysis. February 18, 2022. Vol 12 Number 4. The ZnAl2O4 spinel with exclusively polar facets provides atomic-level control of the zinc source from its top layer for the preferred formation of the PdZnβ alloy even at low Pd loadings, such as 1000 ppm, which exhibits superior reactivity and CO2 selectivity in methanol steam reforming.

ACS Catalysis Magazine Cover 10.2020 Issue 23 Viewpoint on low-temperature methane oxidation for efficient emission control in natural gas vehicles: Pd and beyond.

JACS AU Magazine Cover 01.2021 The {001} facet showed a lower apparent activation energy (or higher reactivity) than the {101} facet, which is due to weaker Lewis acid and Brønsted base strengths of the {001} facet that favors the reprotonation–desorption of the coupled intermediate, making the C–C coupling step more exothermic on the {001} facet and resulting in an earlier transition state with a lower activation barrier.

JACS Au 2021 Methane Oxidation In collaboration with PNNL, we found that isolated Pd sites are much less active than PdO nanoparticles for methane oxdiation and H2O-induced deactivation on PdO nanoparticles can be readily circumvented by tuning the support hydrophobicity.

JACS Magazine Cover September 2021 The roles of water in the cascade acetone-to-isobutene reactions on ZnxZryOz mixed metal oxide are found to distort diacetone alcohol’s hydroxyl functional group toward its carbonyl functional group and facilitate the intramolecular rearrangement of diacetone alcohol to form isobutene.

ACS Catalysis Cover October 2020 Vol 10 Number 19
The active sites for low-temperature CO oxidation are elucidated over single-atom Pd1/CeO2 catalysts prepared via high-temperature atom trapping. Just like the Go game where chess pieces with no liberties are dead, the coordination-unsaturated Pd2+ ions on CeO2 are much more reactive than the fully coordinated counterpart.

ACS Catalysis Cover September 2020 Vol 10 Number 18
Direct conversion of ethanol to n-butene over Ag-ZrO2/SiO2 catalysts was demonstrated with an exceptional butene-rich olefin selectivity of 88% at 99% conversion. This technology offers the potential for a reduction in the number of required processing units versus conventional alcohol-to-jet technology.

ACS Catalysis Cover August 2020 Vol 10 Number 21
Fundamental insights into the deactivation mechanism of a Cu/SSZ-13 SCR catalyst under mild hydrothermal ageing conditions were elucidated, i.e., hydrothermal treatment results in stronger Cu–zeolite interactions, including relocation of Cu ions, leading to decreased reduction half cycle of the SCR reaction.

ACS Catalysis Cover July 2020 Vol 10 Number 14

Embedding nitrogen into the carbon skeleton (mainly including pyridinic and pyrrolic nitrogen functional groups) plays an critical role in stabilizing Fe, while amino-N is inclined to suffering from wastage during the hydrodeoxygenation reaction.

ACS Catalysis Cover April 2020 Vol 10 Number 7

ACS Catal: Molecular 2-propanol dehydration dominates on TiO2 (101) while on TiO2 (001), 2-propanol simultaneously converts to more stable 2-propoxide before dehydration, which then requires higher activation energies for E2 elimination.

Chemical Science Cover

A few layers of graphene can be engineered on metallic Fe particles (G@Fe) to prevent the iron surface from oxidation by hydroxyls or water produced during HDO reaction, while the addition of Cs further promotes the selective C–O bond cleavage by inhibiting the tautomerization.

Catal.Sci.Tech Cover October 2020

Real-time DRIFTS coupled with in situ gas adsorption calorimetry reveal the formation of acetone enolate and the subsequent aldolization via an Eley-Rideal type mechanism on the Zn1Zr10Oz.

Catal.Sci.Tech Cover May 2019

In collaborating with PNNL, uniform d8 metal centers are synthesized and exploited to reveal the long-debated intermediates of ethylene polymerization whereby the oxidative addition of ethylene generates d6 metal vinyl hydride complexes. The dehydrogenative coupling of ethylene leads to the formation of butenes and butadiene under mild conditions on the zeolite-supported Ir(I) and Ni(II) catalysts.

ACS Catalysis Cover May 2019 Vol 9

In collaboration with Datye group at UNM, it was found that the synthesis of single-atom catalysts by trapping volatile PtO2 gas phase molecules on step-edge sites of ceria (111) involves the Pt4+ ions bringing two oxygens (purple) which are now shared with uncoordinated Ce3+ cations, allowing the Pt2+ to achieve a stable square planar site.

The Journal of Physical Chemistry Cover, January 4, 2020. Vol 124 Issue 1

In collaboration with McEwen group, it was found that high-coverage ordered structure of phenol on Pt(111) contains the two most favorable adsorption sites that are co-adsorbed at a coverage of 0.125 ML. The red, black, white, and gray spheres are oxygen, carbon, hydrogen, and platinum atoms, respectively.

Angewandte Chemie Cover 2019-58/36

In collaboration with Jianzhi Hu from PNNL and Wachs group at Lehigh University, it was found that abatement of NOx emissions by selective catalytic reduction (SCR) on vanadia‐based heterogeneous catalysts proceeds via a two‐site mechanism over adjacent vanadia sites. The use of tungsten oxide results in vanadia oligomerization which enhances NOx abatement.
ChemComm Journal cover (As featured in ChemComm; Royal Society of Chemistry;

ChemComm has recently highlighted our group’s research in directly converting carboxylic acids were to light olefins with high selectivity over ZnxZryOz.

ChemComm Magazine - featured article (As featured in ChemComm; Royal Society of Chemistry;

ChemComm has highlighted the joint work done at WSU and PNNL in Dr. Wang’s groups about upgrading the pyrolysis vapors of lignocellulosic biomass.

ACS Catalysis Cover, July 2015

ACS Catalysis’ July 2015 cover features Wang group work on advanced in situ NMR work on vanadia supported on TiO2 rods.

Chem Soc Rev Cover (Royal Society of Chemistry;

Changjun Liu’s work featured on Chemical Society Reviews’ cover – “Catalytic fast pyrolysis of lignocellulosic biomass”

ACS Catalysis Cover, October 2014, ACS Publications

Yongchun Hong’s Pd/Fe catalyst work featured on ACS Catalysis’ cover

Dalton Transactions Cover, August 2014 (Royal Society of Chemistry)

Junming Sun’s work featured on Dalton Transactions’ cover – “Supported metal catalysts for alcohol/sugar alcohol steam reforming”

ChemCatChem Magazine Cover, June 2015, Wiley-VCH, Catalysis

ChemCatChem’s cover features Wang group work on acetone steam reforming over Co catalysts

ACS Catalysis Cover, April 2014, ACS Publications

Junming Sun’s review paper was highlighted on the cover of ACS Catalysis – “Recent advances in catalytic conversion of ethanol to chemicals”

Physical Chemistry Chemical Physics (PCCP) cover, February 2012

Physical Chemistry Chemical Physics’ Feb 2012 cover features the advancement of in situ NMR techniques for mechanistic studies under working conditions

Book cover: Microreactor Technology and Process Intensification - Edited by Yong Wang and Jamelyn D. Holladay

Professor Yong Wang has co-edited “Microreactor Technology and Process Intensification.”

Book cover: Biomass Processing, Conversion and Biorefinery - Bo Zhang, Yong Wang, editors

Professor Yong Wang has co-edited “Biomass Processing Conversion and Biorefinery.”