Prof. Dr. Walter Leitner - Molecular Catalysis

Prof. Dr. Walter Leitner
Department Molecular Catalysis


Dipl.-Chem. Univ. (Chemistry)University of Regensburg (1982-1987)
Dr. rer. nat.Institute for Inorganic Chemistry , University of Regensburg (1987-1989)
PostdocDyson Perrins Laboratory for Organic Chemistry, University of Oxford, UK (1990)
FellowshipLiebig Fellow of the Fonds der Chemischen Industrie, University of Regensburg (1991-1992)
Research associateMax-Planck-Working Group „CO2-Chemistry“, Friedrich-Schiller-University Jena (1992-1995)
HabilitationFriedrich-Schiller-University Jena(1995)
Lecturer (Privatdozent)Friedrich-Schiller-University Jena (1995)
Group leaderDepartment of “Organic Synthesis” , Max-Planck-Institut für Kohlenforschung, Mülheim/Ruhr (1995-1998)
Head of the Technical LaboratoriesMax-Planck-Institut für Kohlenforschung, Mülheim/Ruhr (1998-2002)
Acting Chair
“Technical Chemistry and Petrochemistry”, RWTH Aachen (2000-2002)
ChairTechnical Chemistry and Petrochemistry, Institut für Technische and Makromolekulare Chemie, RWTH Aachen (seit 2002)
External Scientific Member Max-Planck-Institut für Kohlenforschung, Mülheim an der Ruhr (2002-2017)
DirectorMolecular Catalysis, MPI CEC (since 2017)


Full publications list on publons and ORCiD.

All publications can also be found on the website of RWTH Aachen.

Chair for Technical Chemistry and Petrochemistry at RWTH Aachen

Since 2002 Prof. Leitner is Chair of 'Technical Chemistry and Petrochemistry' at RWTH Aachen.

Website: RWTH Aachen - Chair of "Technical Chemistry and Petrochemistry"


  • 1982-1987 Hundhammer-Stipendium of the Government of Bavaria
  • 1987-1989 Promotions-Stipendium of the Government of Bavaria
  • 1990 Studienabschluss-Stipendium of the Fonds der Chemischen Industrie (FCI)
  • 1990 Award for Best PhD Thesis in Sciences of the Energieversorgung Ostbayern AG
  • 1990 Postdoctoral Fellowship of the Stiftung Volkswagenwerk
  • 1991-1992 Liebig-Fellowship of the Fonds der Chemischen Industrie (FCI)
  • 1997 Gerhard-Hess-Award of the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG)
  • 1997 Angewandte-Chemie-Award for best lecture at the Chemiedozententagung
  • 1998 Bennigsen-Foerder-Preis of Nordrhein-Westfalen (NRW)
  • 1998 Carl-Zerbe-Award of the Deutsche Wissenschaftliche Gesellschaft für Erdöl, Erdgas und Kohle (DMGK)
  • 01/1999 Visiting Scientist at the National Institute for Chemicals and Materials Research in Tsukuba, Japan
  • 11/1999 Nozaki Lecture, Univ. Osaka, Japan
  • 2000 2nd International Messer Innovation-Award
  • 2001 Otto-Roelen-Medal of DECHEMA
  • 2003 Griess Lectureship of the Royal Society of Chemistry (RSC)
  • 2005 Guest Professorship at the Universitè de Bourgogne, Dijon, France
  • 2008 CATSA Eminent Visitor Award of the South African Catalysis Society
  • 2009 Wöhler Award of the Gesellschaft Deutscher Chemiker (GDCh)
  • 2010 Fellow of the Royal Society of Chemistry (FRSC)
  • 2011 Honorary Member of the Chemical Society of Ethiopia
  • 2013 Visiting Lecturer for Promotion of Chemistry, National Science Foundation Taiwan
  • 2014 European Sustainable Chemistry Award of the European Science Association of Chemical and Molecular Sciences (EuCheMS), jointly with Prof. Jürgen Klankermayer (RWTH Aachen)
  • 2015 Nankai University Lectureship in Organic Chemistry, Nankai University, China
  • 2015 Molecular Science Forum Lecture of Chinese Academy of Sciences and Chinese Chemical Society
  • 2018 Casey Lecture of the University of Wisconsin, Madison, USA


  • Since 2002 Chairman of the Conference Series “Green Solvents”
  • 2004-2010/ 2010-2016 Scientific Editor/Chairman of the Editorial Board of the RSC journal “Green Chemistry” IF 2016: 8.5
  • Since 2005 Member of the International Advisory Board of “Advanced Synthesis and Catalysis”
  • 2005-2011 Member of the Board of the Petrochemical Division of DGMK
  • 2006-2014 Member of the Board of the Section “Sustainable Chemistry” of GDCh
  • 2006-2008 Chairman of the Catalysis Section of DECHEMA
  • Since 2007 Scientific Director of CAT, the joint Catalytic Center of RWTH Aachen, Bayer Material Science and Bayer Technology Services
  • Since 2007 Member of the Scientific Management Board of the Cluster of Excellence “Tailor-Made Fuels form Biomass” at RWTH Aachen
  • Since 2009 Member of the Strategy Council of RWTH Aachen University
  • 2010-2014 Coordinator of the large-scale collaborative research project SYNFLOW within the 7th Framework Program of the EU
  • 2011-2014 Chairman of the German Catalysis Society GeCatS
  • 2011-2016/ from 2018 Member of the Board of DECHEMA
  • 2013 Member of the Organizing Committee of the 15th International Congress on Catalysis, Munich
  • Since 2014 Member of the Scientific Advisory Board of the Renewable Energy Program of the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology KIT
  • Since 2015 Member of the Scientific Council of DGMK
  • Since 2016 Chairman of the Coordination Group of the Kopernikus Project “P2X: Erforschung, Validierung und Implementierung von „Power-to-X“ Konzepten”
  • Since 2017 Chairman of the Conference EuropaCat 2019



  • Dr. Shannon Bonke (Guest)
  • Dr. Basuijt Chatterjee
  • Dr. Jesús Esteban Serrano
  • Dr. Thiemo Faßbach
  • Dr. Jing Jin
  • Dr. Deepti Kalsi
  • Hannah Kreissl
  • Dr. Natalia Levin Rojas
  • Dr. Yunxiang Qiao
  • Dr. Sheetal Sisodiya

    PhD students

  • Hanna Cramer (Guest)
  • Kira Ruth Ehmann
  • Christina Erken (Guest)
  • Lisa Goclik
  • Souha Kacem
  • Niklas Kinzel
  • Katrin Köhnke (Guest)
  • Savarithai Jenani Louis Anandaraj
  • Gilles Moos
  • Simon Musch (Guest)
  • Lisa Ramona Offner-Marko (Guest)
  • Sebastian Püschel
  • Simon Rengshausen (Guest)
  • Thorsten Rösler
  • Alexander Schmitz
  • Marco Schrimpf
  • Marc Strohmann
  • IMPRS-RECHARGE students

  • David Kuß

    Lab staff

  • Norbert Dickmann
  • Yasmin Phyllis Eisenmann
  • Annika Gurowski
  • Bastian Hesselmann
  • Carsten Hindemith
  • Alina Jakubowski
  • Tabea Mußfeldt
  • Phillip Reck
  • Julia Zerbe

Research in 'Molecular Catalysis'


The fundamental science in the Division of Molecular Catalysis contributes to the development of technologies for the conversion of renewable energy and feedstocks to sustainable fuels and chemical products.

The scientific concept focusses on the understanding of the molecular principles of catalysis as basis for mastering across all scales catalytic processes at the interface of energy and chemistry.



The Division of Molecular Catalysis addresses scientific challenges in the area of organometallic chemistry ranging from the molecular fundamentals to the development of novel reaction-engineering concepts. The research topics are aligned with the principles of „Green Chemistry“ and comprise in particular the use of CO2 as chemical building block and the selective transformation of bio-based feedstocks, as well as the utilization of advanved reaction media such as ionic liquids or supercritical fluids. The actual project plans are based on a rational mechanistic understanding, whereby computational chemistry plays a major role in the analysis and for predicitive catalyst design.

Possible applications of the scientific knowledge and research results range from the production of tailor-made fuels, through the manufacturing of base chemicals, to the synthesis of fine chemicals and pharmaceuticals. The research activities are often embedded in interdisicplinary and international collaborations, including knowledge-oriented scientific networks as well as application-oriented technology consortia.

Research groups

Working Group „Multifunctional Catalytic Systems“
Group Leader: Dr. Alexis Bordet

Working Group „Organometallic Electrocatalysis“
Group Leader: Dr. N.N.

Working Group „Multiphase Catalysis“
Group Leader: PD Dr. Andreas Vorholt