Heinz Heinemann Papers
Held at: Science History Institute Archives [Contact Us]315 Chestnut Street, Philadelphia, PA 19106
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Heinz Heinemann was a German-American chemist and a leader in the development of catalytic technologies. Heinemann was born in Berlin, Germany in 1913. He attended the university and the Technische Hochschule in Berlin. When his thesis was rejected because he was Jewish, he moved to Basel, Switzerland, where he received his Ph.D. in physical chemistry from the University of Basel. In 1938, he came to the United States to begin his professional career. From 1941 to 1948, he was a research supervisor for Attapulgus Clay Company. In 1948, he joined the Houdry Process Corporation as a section manager in their research department, and in 1957, he joined the W. M. Kellogg Company, first as assistant to the vice president of research and later as director of chemical and engineering research. From 1969 until 1978, he was affiliated with Mobil Research and Development Corporation and was manager of catalysis research in their laboratory in Princeton, New Jersey.
Upon his retirement from Mobil in 1978, he became a senior scientist at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, where he continued to pursue research on new catalytic processes for the production of gaseous and liquid fuels from coal and later from natural gas. He began by working with graphite as a model carbon solid to study the catalytic gasification using potassium hydroxide as a catalyst. He found that at the relatively low temperature of 500 degrees Celsius, hydrocarbons from C1 to C6 could be formed with high efficiency. He worked on the mechanism and discovered that the carbon bond next to the oxygen-potassium bond of potassium hydroxide had to be broken as the rate-limiting step to produce products of carbon monoxide and hydrocarbons. Following the work with graphite as a model catalyst, he studied the steam gasification with chars at temperatures below 700 degrees Celsius using a potassium oxide-calcium oxide catalyst, which shows superior resistance to deactivation by sulfur.
In 1989 and 1990, Heinemann turned to the oxydehydrogenation of methane using catalysts such as calcium, nickel or potassium oxides at temperatures below 600 degrees Celsius, a theme that he pursued for the remainder of his years at Berkeley. When he retired from his position as senior scientist in 1995, he continued working as a distinguished scientist in the Washington, D.C. office of the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, serving as a liaison between the laboratory and the U.S. Department of Energy.
During the course of his career, which spanned more than sixty years, Heinemann participated in the invention and development of fourteen commercial processes, including the process for converting methanol to gasoline, was awarded seventy-five patents, and published more than one hundred-fifty papers. He was a cofounder of the Philadelphia Catalysis Club, the Catalysis Society of North America, and the International Congress on Catalysis, serving as its president from 1956 to 1960. In addition to serving as the editor of Catalysis Reviews for its first sixteen years, he was a consulting editor for over ninety books in the Chemical Industries Series, published by Marcel Dekker, Incorporated, many of which dealt with catalysis.
Heinz Heinemann died on November 23, 2005 at the age of ninety-two.
Heinz Heinemann Papers, Science History Institute Archives, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
The University of California. "In Memoriam: Heinz Heinemann." https://senate.universityofcalifornia.edu/_files/inmemoriam/html/heinzheinemann.html.
The Heinz Heinemann Papers contain the personal papers of German-American chemist Heinz Heinemann. Arranged mostly chronologically by date, this collection consists of ten boxes. The files in this collection primarily concern conferences attended by Heinemann and courses that he taught at the University of California, Berkeley as a professor.
The Heinz Heinemann Papers were donated to the Science History Institute (formerly the Chemical Heritage Foundation) by Barbara Heinemann in 2006.
The Heinz Heinemann Papers were processed by Andrew Mangravite in 2015 and encoded into EAD by Samantha Brigher in 2020.
- American Chemical Society
- Australian Institute of Petroleum
- CSIRO (Australia). Division of Materials Science
- Catalysis Society
- International Conference on Fluidization
- International Congress on Catalysis
- Mobil Research and Development Corporation
- National Conference on Fuels from Crops. (1981 : National Science Centre)
- North American Catalysis Society
- Robert A. Welch Foundation
- SFA Pacific, Incorporated
- Stanford University. Industrial Affiliates Program
- Biomass energy
- Biomass gasification
- Catalysis -- Periodicals
- Chemists -- United States
- Coal gasification
- Coal gasification -- Congresses
- Electron microscopy
- Ethanol as fuel
- Fuel switching
- Gas as fuel
- Gasoline -- Anti-knock and anti-knock mixtures
- Manganese nodules
- Methanol as fuel
- Motor fuels -- Anti-knock and anti-knock mixtures
- Natural gas
- Nickel oxide
- Petroleum chemicals
- Science History Institute Archives
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- Finding aid created by Andrew Mangravite and encoded into EAD by Samantha Brigher.
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