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February 9, 2018

Chemical engineering alum elected to National Academy of Engineering

Written By: Silke Schmidt

 Raymond Gorte
Raymond Gorte. Photo courtesy of the University of Pennsylvania.

Raymond Gorte, a 1976 graduate of the Department of Chemical and Biological Engineering, was elected a fellow of the National Academy of Engineering in February 2018 for fundamental contributions and their applications to heterogeneous catalysts and solid state electrochemical devices. An induction into the NAE is among the highest professional distinctions accorded to an engineer and honors outstanding contributions to research, practice or education.

Gorte received his PhD in chemical engineering at the University of Minnesota in 1981 and is currently the Russell Pearce and Elizabeth Crimian Heuer Professor of chemical and biomolecular engineering, and of materials science and engineering, at the University of Pennsylvania. His broad research areas include fuel cells, catalysis and energy.

Gorte has made pioneering contributions to the development of solid oxide fuel cells, which produce electricity from oxidizing a fuel. They accommodate a wider range of fuel sources than other cells and also have the potential to be used as carbon capture technology for reducing emissions from natural gas and coal-fired power plants. Gorte has developed a novel process for making high-performance solid oxide cells that operate on hydrocarbon fuels.

In the area of catalysis, Gorte has studied how changes in the thermodynamic properties of mixed oxides affect their ability to speed up chemical reactions of interest.

Gorte has received numerous research awards, including the Paul Emmett Award of the North American Catalysis Society (1999) and the R. H. Wilhelm Award from the American Institute of Chemical Engineers (2009). In 2015, he was elected a Fellow of the Electrochemical Society.

A formal induction ceremony for the 83 new NAE members and 16 new foreign members elected in February will take place at the academy’s annual meeting in Washington, D.C., on Sept. 30, 2018.