The New Frontiers of Hydrocarbons Award in the Downstream category went to Helmut Schwarz of the Technische Universität in Berlin for his research Concepts Rather than Instructions: an Unorthodox, Novel Approach to Selectively Activate Inert C-H Bonds.
The activation of natural gas for its conversion into heavier hydrocarbons
Professor Schwarz’s work focused on a fundamental problem of modern research: the activation of natural gas for its conversion into heavier (such as ethane/ethylene) or oxygenated (such as methanol or formaldehyde) hydrocarbons. This direct transformation may make it more feasible to exploit the huge reserves of natural gas present in remote fields and transport it to areas of use. Professor Schwarz’s extensive research, along with the combined use of experimental techniques and advanced theoretical approaches, is a primary source of knowledge on these reactions and the results could lead to important technological discoveries in the near future.