• 17477 Citations

Research output per year

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Personal profile


"Realizing the clean energy transition requires the development of advanced and competitive catalytic technology, to increase the share of renewable energy in the production of fuels and chemicals."

Research profile

The research of Emiel Hensen focuses on the fundamental aspects of catalyzed reactions relevant to clean and sustainable processes for the production of fuels and chemicals. The aim hereby is to identify active sites and understand reaction mechanisms. The working approach is to combine

  • advanced operando characterization methods - X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy, X-ray absorption spectroscopy, vibrational spectroscopy applied to well-defined catalyst model systems;
  • theoretical modeling (density functional theory, microkinetics); and
  • performance testing (kinetics, high-throughput methods, transient techniques),

to guide the design and synthesis of nanoscopically organized and well-defined chemically functionalized catalytic solid materials. The materials explored include primarily highly structured porous materials containing reactive centers such as protons, metal ions and metal, metal oxide and metal sulfides clusters.

Applications are directed towards the improvement of current industrial chemical processes and novel processes based on renewable feedstock such as biomass. Catalytic target reactions are methane activation, the Fischer-Tropsch reaction, conversion of biogenic molecules such as sugars and lignin, and metal-support cooperativity in selective oxidation. In these areas of research Hensen has made many innovative, internationally recognized scientific contributions. Hensen has pioneered the fields of Lewis-acid catalysed conversion of sugars, catalytic upgrading of lignin, synthesis of hierarchical zeolites, and microkinetics simulations of heterogeneous reactions.

Academic background

Emiel Hensen received his master degree in chemical engineering and chemistry from Eindhoven University of Technology (TU/e) in 1994. In 2000 he obtained his PhD from the same university in the field of molecular heterogeneous catalysis under the supervision of professors Rutger van Santen and Rob van Veen. He then took up an assistant professor position with Prof. Berend Smit at University of Amsterdam. In 2001 he returned to TU/e as an assistant professor and in 2008 he was promoted to associate professor. From 2006-2008 he was a visiting research scientist at the Shell Research and Technology Center Amsterdam (The Netherlands). Since July 2009 Hensen is full professor of inorganic materials chemistry at TU/e. He was a visiting professor at Katholieke Universiteit Leuven (Belgium) from 2001 until 2016 and a visiting professor at Hokkaido University (Japan) in 2016. Hensen was appointed dean of the TU/e department of Chemical Engineering and Chemistry in 2016. He is member of the Dutch Advanced Research Center Chemical Building Blocks Consortium and chairman of the Netherlands Institute for Catalysis Research (NIOK).

Affiliated with

  • Netherlands Research School for Catalysis (NIOK, chairman)
  • European Research Institute of Catalysis (ERIC, board member)
  • Gravitation program Multiscale Catalytic Energy Conversoin (MCEC, MT member)

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Research Output

Highly efficient and robust Au/MgCuCr2O4 catalyst for gas-phase oxidation of ethanol to acetaldehyde

Liu, P. & Hensen, E. J. M., 2013, In : Journal of the American Chemical Society. 135, 38, p. 14032-14035 4 p.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

  • 216 Citations (Scopus)
    1 Downloads (Pure)

    Selective coke combustion by oxygen pulsing during Mo/ZSM‐5‐catalyzed methane dehydroaromatization

    Kosinov, N., Coumans, F. J. A. G., Uslamin, E. A., Kapteijn, F. & Hensen, E. J. M., 2016, In : Angewandte Chemie - International Edition. 55, 48, p. 15086-15090 5 p.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

    Open Access
  • 48 Citations (Scopus)
    113 Downloads (Pure)

    Establishing hierarchy: the chain of events leading to the formation of Silicalite-1 nanosheets

    Zhu, X., Goesten, M. G., Koekkoek, A. J. J., Mezari, B., Kosinov, N., Filonenko, G., Friedrich, H., Rohling, R., Szyja, B. M., Gascon, J., Kapteijn, F. & Hensen, E. J. M., 2016, In : Chemical Science. 7, 10, p. 6506-6513 8 p.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

    Open Access
    13 Citations (Scopus)
    90 Downloads (Pure)

    A bifunctional catalyst based on Nb and v oxides over alumina: Oxidative cleavage of crude glycerol to green formic acid

    Oliveira, H. S., Oliveira, L. C. A., Chagas, P., Sangiorge, D. L., Figueiredo, M. P., Siqueira, K. P. F. & Hensen, E. J. M., 28 May 2020, In : New Journal of Chemistry. 44, 20, p. 8538-8544 7 p.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

  • A quantum-chemical study of the CO dissociation mechanism on low-index Miller planes of ϴ-Fe 3 C

    Broos, R. J. P., Klumpers, B., Zijlstra, B., Filot, I. A. W. & Hensen, E. J. M., 15 Feb 2020, In : Catalysis Today. 342, p. 152-160 9 p.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

    Open Access
  • 1 Citation (Scopus)
    18 Downloads (Pure)


    • 1 Contributed talk

    On the adsorption behaviour and kinetics of a hydrotalcite-based adsorbent for sorption-enhanced water-gas-shift

    Kai T. Coenen (Speaker), F. Gallucci (Member), E.J.M. Hensen (Member), M. van Sint Annaland (Member)
    1 Oct 20175 Oct 2017

    Activity: Talk or presentation typesContributed talkScientific


    Capita selecta

    1/09/16 → …


    DBL Molecules and materials

    1/09/13 → …


    Graduation Project CPT

    1/09/15 → …


    Press / Media

    Research in labs has carefully restarted

    Emiel J.M. Hensen


    1 Media contribution

    Press/Media: Public Engagement Activities

    Limited reopening of labs as of May 6

    Emiel J.M. Hensen


    1 Media contribution

    Press/Media: Public Engagement Activities

    After today access to buildings will be extremely restricted

    Emiel J.M. Hensen


    1 Media contribution

    Press/Media: Public Engagement Activities

    Storing energy in hydrogen 20 times more effective using platinum-nickel catalyst

    Emiel J.M. Hensen


    6 items of Media coverage

    Press/Media: Expert Comment

    Student theses

    Acid-assisted catalytic fractionation of lignocellulosic biomass

    Author: Hendriks, B., 25 Oct 2017

    Supervisor: Hensen, E. (Supervisor 1) & Huang, X. (Supervisor 2)

    Student thesis: Master


    Ag/Al2/O3 ethylene epoxidation catalysts: tracking the active phase evolution

    Author: van de Poll, R., 19 Nov 2018

    Supervisor: van Hoof, A. (Supervisor 1), Hensen, E. (Supervisor 2), Friedrich, H. (Supervisor 2) & Kosinov, N. (Supervisor 2)

    Student thesis: Master


    A new perspective on HDS: using scanning electron microscopy as a tool in research on HydroDeSulphurization catalysis

    Author: Oudenhoven, J., 30 Nov 2005

    Supervisor: Hensen, E. (Supervisor 1) & Niemantsverdriet, J. (Supervisor 2)

    Student thesis: Master


    A quantummechanical analysis of the carbide Fischer-Tropsch mechanism on Rh(211)

    Author: van Heugten, G., 31 Aug 2013

    Supervisor: Filot, I. (Supervisor 1), Hensen, E. (Supervisor 2), Peters, E. (Supervisor 2) & Ligthart, D. (Supervisor 2)

    Student thesis: Master