By Tina Hilding, College of Engineering and Architecture

Jean-Sabin McEwen, associate professor in the Gene and Linda Voiland School of Chemical Engineering and Bioengineering, has been named among the most influential chemical engineering researchers in the world, according to a leading journal in the field, Industrial and Engineering Chemistry Research, which is published by the American Chemical Society.

The journal editors identified the early career researchers around the world based on the quality and impact of their research.

McEwen, who has been with WSU since 2012, conducts research in catalytic processes for energy applications.

Earlier this year, he worked with researchers at Tufts University to demonstrate for the first time that a single metal atom can act as a catalyst in converting carbon monoxide into carbon dioxide, a chemical reaction that is commonly used in catalytic converters to remove harmful gases from car exhaust.

In another project, he was part of a team that improved an important catalytic reaction used in the oil and gas industries that could lead to dramatic energy savings and reduced methane pollution.

He and his colleagues also developed a way to identify important chemical changes that occur during complex reactions on the surfaces of catalysts. The work which could lead to improved catalysts, which are critical in industry and are used in 90 percent of the world’s chemical processes and 60 percent of chemical products.

McEwen is the recipient of a prestigious National Science Foundation Career award for his work in developing a model to predict behavior of low-temperature exhaust catalysts. His work also has been funded by federal agencies and endowed funds, including the Department of Energy’s Office of Science Catalysis program and the American Chemical Society Petroleum Research Fund. He is a recipient of five NSF grants and has authored more than 60 peer-reviewed journal papers.

“Dr. McEwen’s research in catalysis has far-reaching impacts that can affect our everyday lives,” said Dean Mary Rezac. “This honor not only showcases his innovative work but also demonstrates WSU’s leadership and world class reputation in this important field. We’re so pleased that he is being recognized.”

As part of being selected as a 2018 Influential Researcher, McEwen’s work is also featured in a virtual special issue of the journal.  The new work focuses on fundamental research in catalysts that can remove polluting nitrogen oxides from car exhaust in highly efficient engines.  In particular, McEwen’s group studied the basic chemistry of an iron-based catalyst to gain understanding of its underlying reaction mechanism.