Prof. Dr. Walter Leitner - Molekulare Katalyse

Prof. Dr. Walter Leitner
Abteilung Molekulare Katalyse


Dipl.-Chem. Univ. (Chemie)Universität Regensburg (1982-1987)
Dr. rer. nat.Institut für Anorganische Chemie, Universität Regensburg (1987-1989)
PostdocDyson Perrins Laboratory for Organic Chemistry, University of Oxford, UK (1990)
StipendiumLiebig-Stipendiat des Fonds der Chemischen Industrie, Universität Regensburg (1991-1992)
Wiss. MA
Max-Planck-Arbeitsgruppe CO2-Chemie, Friedrich-Schiller-Universität Jena (1992-1995)
HabilitationFriedrich-Schiller-Universität Jena (1995)
PrivatdozentFriedrich-Schiller-Universität Jena (1995)
GruppenleiterAbteilung 'Organische Synthese', Max-Planck-Institut für Kohlenforschung, Mülheim/Ruhr (1995-1998)
Leiter des Technikums
Max-Planck-Institut für Kohlenforschung, Mülheim/Ruhr (1998-2002)
Technische Chemie und Petrolchemie, RWTH Aachen (2000-2002)
LehrstuhlinhaberTechnische Chemie und Petrolchemie, Institut für Technische und Makromolekulare Chemie, RWTH Aachen (seit 2002)
Ext. Wiss. MitgliedMax-Planck-Institut für Kohlenforschung, Mülheim/Ruhr (2002-2017)
DirektorMolekulare Katalyse, MPI CEC (seit 2017)


Full publications list | ORCID | ResearcherID

Selected MPI CEC publications

  • Weidener, D., Dama, M., Dietrich, S.K., Ohrem, B., Pauly, M., Leitner, W., Domínguez de Maria, P., Grande, P.M., Klose, H. (2020). Multiscale analysis of lignocellulose recalcitrance towards OrganoCat pretreatment and fractionation Biotechnology for Biofuels 13, 155.
  • Hussong, C., Langanke, J., Leitner, W. (2020). A green route to polyurethanes: oxidative carbonylation of industrially relevant aromatic diamines by CO2-based methyl formate Green Chemistry
  • Hussong, C., Langanke, J., Leitner, W. (2020). Carbon2Polymer: A CO2‐based Route to Polyurethanes via Oxidative Carbonylation of TDA with Methyl Formate Chemie Ingenieur Technik
  • Goclik, L., Offner-Marko, L., Bordet, A., Leitner, W. (2020). Selective Hydrodeoxygenation of Hydroxyacetophenones to Ethyl-Substituted Phenol Derivatives Using a FeRu@SILP Catalyst Chemical Communications 56(66), 9509-9512.
  • Weidener, D., Holtz, A., Klose, H., Jupke, A., Leitner, W., Grande, P.M. (2020). Lignin Precipitation and Fractionation from OrganoCat Pulping to Obtain Lignin with Different Sizes and Chemical Composition Molecules 25(15), 3330.
  • Chatterjee, B., Kalsi, D., Kaithal, A., Bordet, A., Leitner, W., Gunanathan, C. (2020). One-pot dual catalysis for the hydrogenation of heteroarenes and arenes Catalysis Science & Technology
  • Beck-Sickinger, A.G., Carell, T., Dehnen, S., Leitner, W., Schreiner, P.R., Wennemers, H. (2020). From Scientists to Scientists—Moving Angewandte into the Future Angewandte Chemie International Edition 59(31), 12548-12549.
  • Cramer, H.H., Chatterjee, B., Weyhermüller, T., Werlé, C., Leitner, W. (2020). Controlling the Product Platform of Carbon Dioxide Reduction: Adaptive Catalytic Hydrosilylation of CO2 Using a Molecular Cobalt(II) Triazine Complex Angewandte Chemie International Edition 59(36), 15674-15681.
  • Erken, C., Hindemith, C., Weyhermüller, T., Hölscher, M., Werlé, C., Leitner, W. (2020). Hydroamination of Aromatic Alkynes to Imines Catalyzed by Pd(II)–Anthraphos Complexes ACS Omega 5(15), 8912-8918.
  • Moos, G., Emondts, M., Bordet, A., Leitner, W. (2020). Selective Hydrogenation and Hydrodeoxygenation of Aromatic Ketones to Cyclohexane Derivatives Using a Rh@SILP Catalyst Angewandte Chemie International Edition 59(29), 11977-11983.
  • Esteban, J., Vorholt, A.J., Leitner, W. (2020). An overview of the biphasic dehydration of sugars to 5-hydroxymethylfurfural and furfural: a rational selection of solvents using COSMO-RS and selection guides Green Chemistry
  • Estes, D.P., Leutzsch, M., Schubert, L., Bordet, A., Leitner, W. (2020). The Effect of Ligand Electronics on the Reversible Catalytic Hydrogenation of CO2 to Formic Acid using Ruthenium Polyhydride Complexes: A Thermodynamic and Kinetic Study ACS Catalysis 10(5), 2990-2998.
  • Zimmerman, J.B., Anastas, P.T., Erythropel, H.C., Leitner, W. (2020). Designing for a green chemistry future Science 367(6476), 397-400.
  • El Sayed, S., Bordet, A., Weidenthaler, C., Hetaba, W., Luska, K., Leitner, W. (2020) Selective Hydrogenation of Benzofurans using Lewis Acid Modified Ruthenium-SILP Catalysts ACS Catalysis 10(3), 2124-2130.
  • Holtz, A., Weidener, D., Leitner, W., Klose, H., Grande, P.M., Jupke, A. (2020). Process development for separation of lignin from OrganoCat lignocellulose fractionation using antisolvent precipitation Separation and Purification Technology 236, 116295.
  • Kaithal, A., van Bonn, P., Hölscher, M., Leitner, W. (2020). Manganese(I)‐Catalyzed β‐Methylation of Alcohols using Methanol as C1 Source Angewandte Chemie International Edition 59(1), 215-220.
  • Kaithal, A., Schmitz, M., Hölscher, M., Leitner, W. (2020). On the mechanism of the Ruthenium‐catalyzed β‐methylation of alcohols with methanol ChemCatChem 12(3), 781-787. 
  • Scott, M., Westhues, C.G., Kaiser, T., Baums, J.C., Jupke, A., Franciò, G., Leitner, W. (2019). Methylformate from CO2: an integrated process combining catalytic hydrogenation and reactive distillation Green Chemistry 21(23), 6307-6317. 
  • Strohmann, M., Bordet, A., Vorholt, A.J., Leitner, W. (2019). Tailor-Made Biofuel 2-Butyltetrahydrofuran from the Continuous Flow Hydrogenation and Deoxygenation of Furfuralacetone Green Chemistry 21(23), 6299-6306. 
  • Kaithal, A., Gracia, L.-L., Camp, C., Quadrelli, E.A., Leitner, W. (2019). Direct Synthesis of Cycloalkanes from Diols and Secondary Alcohols or Ketones Using a Homogeneous Manganese Catalyst Journal of the American Chemical Society 141(44), 17487-17492.
  • Martínez-Ferraté, O., Chatterjee, B., Werlé, C., Leitner, W. (2019). Hydrosilylation of carbonyl and carboxyl groups catalysed by Mn(I) complexes bearing triazole ligands Catalysis Science & Technology 9(22), 6370-6379.
  • Grande, P.M., Weidener, D., Dietrich, S., Dama, M., Bellof, M., Maas, R., Pauly, M., Leitner, W., Klose, H., Domínguez de María, P. (2019). OrganoCat Fractionation of Empty Fruit Bunches from Palm Trees into Lignin, Sugars, and Cellulose-Enriched Pulp ACS Omega 4(11), 14451-14457.
  • Rohner, S.S., Kinzel, N., Werlé, C., Leitner, W. (2019). Systematic ligand variation to modulate the electrochemical properties of iron and manganese complexes Dalton Transactions 48, 13205-13211.
  • Liu, H., Zhu, L., Wallraf, A.M., Räuber, C., Grande, P.M., Anders, N., Gertler, C., Werner, B., Klankermayer, J., Leitner, W., Schwaneberg, U. (2019). Depolymerization of laccase-oxidized lignin in aqueous alkaline solution at 37°C ACS Sustainable Chemistry & Engineering 7(13), 11150-11156.
  • Kaithal, A., Schmitz, M., Hölscher, M., Leitner, W. (2019). Ruthenium(II)-Catalyzed ß-Methylation of Alcohols using Methanol as C1 Source 11(21), 5287-5291. ChemCatChem
  • Schrimpf, M., Esteban, J., Rösler, T., Vorholt, A.J., Leitner, W. (2019). Intensified Reactors for Gas-Liquid-Liquid Multiphase Catalysis: from Chemistry to Engineering Chemical Engineering Journal 372, 917-939.
  • Rengshausen, S., Etscheidt, F., Großkurth, J., Luska, K.L., Bordet, A., Leitner, W. (2019). Catalytic Hydrogenolysis of Substituted Diaryl Ethers by Using Ruthenium Nanoparticles on an Acidic Supported Ionic Liquid Phase (Ru@SILP-SO3H) Synlett 30(04), 405-412.  
  • Jens, C.M., Scott, M., Liebergesell, B., Westhaus, C.G., Schäfer, P., Franciò, G., Leonhard, K., Leitner, W., Bardow, A. (2019). Rh-Catalyzed Hydrogenation of CO2 to Formic Acid in DMSO-based Reaction Media: Solved and Unsolved Challenges for Process Development Advanced Synthesis and Catalysis 361(2), 307-316.
  • Faßbach, T.A., Vorholt, A.J., Leitner, W. (2019). The Telomerization of 1,3 Dienes – A Reaction Grows Up ChemCatChem 11(4), 1153-1166.
  • Rösler, T., Faβbach, T.A., Schrimpf, M., Vorholt, A.J., Leitner, W. (2019). Towards water-based recycling techniques: Methodologies for homogeneous catalyst recycling in liquid/liquid multiphase media and their implementation in continuous processes Industrial & Engineering Chemistry Research 58(7), 2421-2436.
  • Solmi, M.V., Schmitz, M., Leitner, W. (2019). CO2 as a Building Block for the Catalytic Synthesis of Carboxylic Acids Studies in Surface Science and Catalysis: Horizons in Sustainable Industrial Chemistry and Catalysis 178, Chapter 6, 105-124.
  • Cantat, T., Leitner, W. (2019). Section 6: Homogeneous catalysis for the sustainable production of fuels and chemicals Research needs: Towards sustainable production of fuels and chemicals, EnergyX Report 60-68.
  • Erken, C., Kaithal, A., Sen, S., Weyhermüller, T., Hölscher, M., Werlé, C., Leitner, W. (2018). Manganese-catalyzed hydroboration of carbon dioxide and other challenging carbonyl groups Nature Communications 9, 4521.
  • Regenstein, L., Klement, T., Grande, P., Kryenschulte, D., Heyman, B., Maßmann, T., Eggert, A., Sengspiel, R., Wang, Y., Wierckx, N., Blanck, L.M., Spiess, A., Leitner, W., Bolm, C., Wessling, M., Jupke, A., Rosenbaum, M., Büchs, J. (2018). From beech wood to itaconic acid: case study on biorefinery process integration Biotechnology for Biofuels 11, 279-289.
  • Schmitz, M., Erken, C., Ohligschläger, A., Schnoor, J.-K., Westhues, N.F., Klankermayer, J., Leitner, W., Liauw, M.A. (2018). Homogeneously Catalyzed Synthesis of (Higher) Alcohols (C1–C4) from the Combination of CO2/CO/H2 Chemie Ingenieur Technik 90(10), 1476-1488.
  • Martínez-Ferraté, O., Werlé, C., Franciò, G., Leitner, W. (2018). Aminotriazole Mn(I) Complexes as Effective Catalysts for Transfer Hydrogenation of Ketones ChemCatChem 23, 4514-4518.
  • Offner-Marko, L., Bordet, A., Moos, G., Tricard, S., Rengshausen, S., Chaudret, B., Luska, K.L., Leitner, W. (2018). Bimetallic Nanoparticles in Supported Ionic Liquid Phases as Multifunctional Catalysts for the Selective Hydrodeoxygenation of Aromatic Substrates Angewandte Chemie International Edition 57(39), 12721-12726.
  • Kaithal, A., Hölscher, M., Leitner, W. (2018). Catalytic Hydrogenation of Cyclic Carbonates using Manganese Complexes Angewandte Chemie International Edition 57(41), 13449-13453.
  • Leitner, W., Franciò, G., Scott, M., Westhues, C., Langanke, J., Lansing, M., Hussong, C., Erdkamp, E. (2018). Carbon2Polymer – Chemical Utilization of CO2 in the Production of Isocyanates Chemie Ingenieur Technik 90(10), 1504-1512.
  • Dutta, I., Yadav, S., Sarbajna, A., De, S., Hölscher, M., Leitner, W., Bera, J.K. (2018). Double Dehydrogenation of Primary Amines to Nitriles by a Ruthenium Complex Featuring Pyrazole Functionality Journal of the American Chemical Society 140(28), 8662-8666.
  • Pienkoß, F., Ochoa-Hernández, Theyssen, N., Leitner, W. (2018). Kaolin: A Natural Low-Cost Material as Catalyst for Isomerization of Glucose to Fructose ACS Sustainable Chemistry & Engineering 6(7), 8782-8789.
  • Weidener, D., Klose, H., Leitner, W., Schurr, U., Usadel, B., Domínguez de Maria, P., Grande, P.M. (2018). One-step lignocellulose fractionation using 2,5-furandicarboxylic acid as biogenic and recyclable catalyst ChemSusChem 11(13), 2051-2056.
  • Deutz, S., Bongartz, D., Heuser, B., Katelhon, A., Langenhorst, L. S., Omari, A., Walters, M., Diaeresis, S., Leitner, W., Mitsos, A., Pischinger, S., Bardow, A. (2018). Cleaner production of cleaner fuels: wind-to-wheel - environmental assessment of CO2-based oxymethylene ether as a drop-in fuel Energy Environmental Science 11, 331-343.
  • Artz, J., Müller, T.E., Thenert, K., Kleinekorte, J., Meys, R., Sternberg, A., Bardow, A., Leitner, W. (2018). Sustainable conversion of carbon dioxide: an integrated review of catalysis and life cycle assessment Chemical Reviews 118 (2), 434-504.
  • Geier, D.I., Schmitz, P., Walkowiak, J., Leitner, W., Franciò, G. (2018). Continuous Flow Asymmetric Hydrogenation with Supported Ionic Liquid Phase Catalysts Using Modified CO2 as the Mobile Phase: from Model Substrate to an Active Pharmaceutical Ingredient ACS Catalysis 8, 3297-3303.
  • Schmitz, M., Solmi, M.V., Leitner, W. (2018). Catalytic Processes Combining CO2 and Alkenes into Value-Added Chemicals: Synthesis of Cyclic Carbonates, Lactones, Carboxylic Acids, Esters, Aldehydes, Alcohols, and Amines Organometallics for Green Catalysis, Topics in Organometallic Chemistry 63, 17-38.

Lehrstuhl 'Technische Chemie und Petrolchemie' - RWTH Aachen

Prof. Leitner ist seit 2002 Lehrstuhlinhaber und Professor für Technische Chemie und Petrolchemie an der RWTH Aachen.

Webseite: RWTH Aachen - Lehrstuhl für Technische Chemie und Petrolchemie

Preise, Ehrungen & Auszeichnungen

  • 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

Funktionen & Aufgaben

  • 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. Thiemo Faßbach
  • Dr. Jing Jin
  • Dr. Akash Kaithal
  • Dr. Deepti Kalsi
  • Dr. Hannah Kreissl
  • Dr. Natalia Levin Rojas
  • Dr. Yunxiang Qiao
  • Dr. Sheetal Sisodiya

    PhD Studenten

  • Emanuele Antico
  • Hanna Hinrika Cramer (Gast) (IMPRS)
  • Kira Ruth Ehmann
  • Lisa Goclik
  • Souha Kacem
  • Niklas Kinzel
  • Simon Kleine
  • Katrin Köhnke (Gast)
  • Paul Peter Kossmann
  • David Kuß (IMPRS)
  • Savarithai Jenani Louis Anandaraj
  • Gilles Moos
  • Sebastian Püschel
  • Thorsten Rösler
  • Peter Schlichter
  • Alexander Schmitz
  • Marco Schrimpf
  • Marc Strohmann
  • Jeroen Thomas Vossen (Gast)
  • Johannes Zenner (Gast)

    Wissenschaftliche Hilfskräfte

  • Philipp Andreas Graefe
  • Dirk Schütte
  • Nico Thanheuser
  • Tabea von Söhnen
  • Niklas Wessel
  • Masterstudierende

  • Maurice Belleflamme
  • Labor

  • Norbert Dickmann
  • Moritz Döring
  • Yasmin Phyllis Eisenmann
  • Annika Gurowski
  • Bastian Hesselmann
  • Petra Höfer
  • Alina Jakubowski
  • Christian Kahl
  • Tabea Mußfeldt
  • Phillip Reck
  • Vanessa Richter
  • Julia Zerbe

Forschungsprofil 'Molekulare Katalyse'

Die Grundlagenforschung der Abteilung 'Molekulare Katalyse' am MPI CEC leistet einen Beitrag zur langfristigen Entwicklung von Technologien, mit denen erneuerbare Energie und Rohstoffe als Grundlage für die Herstellung von chemischen Produkten und Kraftstoffen genutzt werden können.

Die wissenschaftlichen Fragestellungen fokussieren auf das Verständnis der molekularen Prinzipien der Katalyse als Basis für die skalen-übergreifende Beherrschung von katalytischen Prozessen an der Schnittstelle von Energie und Chemie.

Die wissenschaftlichen Fragestellungen der Abteilung „Molekulare Katalyse“ liegen auf dem Gebiet der metallorganischen Katalyse von ihren molekularen Grundlagen bis zur Entwicklung neuer reaktionstechnischer Konzepte. Die an den Prinzipien der „Green Chemistry“ ausgerichteten Forschungsthemen umfassen insbesondere die Nutzung von CO2 als C1-Baustein und die selektive Umwandlung biobasierter Rohstoffe, sowie den Einsatz alternativer Reaktionsmedien wie ionische Flüssigkeiten und überkritische Fluide. Die konkreten Konzepte für die Projektarbeit basieren auf einem grundlegenden Verständnis der zugrundeliegenden Mechanismen, wobei computer-gestützte Methoden eine wichtige Rolle für das rationale Katalysator-Design spielen.

Mögliche Anwendungen der Forschungsergebnisse reichen von der Produktion maßgeschneiderter Kraftstoffen, über die Herstellung von chemischen Zwischenprodukten bis zur Synthese von Feinchemikalien und Pharmazeutika. Die Forschungsarbeiten sind häufig in interdisziplinäre und internationale Kooperationen eingebunden, die sowohl erkenntnis-orientierte Forschungscluster als auch anwendungs-orientierte Technologieprojekte beinhalten.