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Johannes Lercher

Physical & Computational Sciences
Battelle Fellow
Pacific Northwest National Laboratory
PO Box 999
MSIN: K2-12
Richland, WA 99352


Dr. Lercher is internationally renowned for his work on the fundamental aspects of industrially relevant catalyzed reactions. The targeted reactions are the low-temperature acid-catalyzed activation, functionalization, and transformation of alkanes; the oxidative activation of light alkanes including methane; and the hydrogenation and cracking of heavy biogenic and fossil molecules.

Research Interests

  • Dr Lercher's work provides insight into the reaction steps on the surface of solid catalysts on an elementary level. This knowledge is used to design and synthesize nanoscopically well-defined, chemically functionalized surfaces and materials. The synthesis and modification of the target materials is controlled on the level of the individual chemical reactions during the genesis of the nanoscopic particles and the assembly of the pre-functionalized entities.

Education and Credentials

  • Battelle Fellow, Director Institute for Integrated Catalysis, Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, Richland, WA, USA, 2011
  • Professor, Chemistry Department, Technische Universität München, Germany
  • Member of the Senate, TU München, 1998-2012
  • Chairman of the Chemistry Department, Technische Universität München, 2000-2007
  • Professor of Chemical Technology, University of Twente, The Netherlands, 1993-1998
  • Head of the Christian Doppler Laboratory for Heterogeneous Catalysis, 1990-1996
  • Head of the research group "Surface Chemistry and Catalysis" at the Institute for Physical Chemistry, TU Vienna, 1989-1993
  • Assistant/Associate Professor at the TU Vienna, 1989-1993
  • Lecturer at the TU Vienna, Austria, 1985-1989
  • Research fellow and visiting lecturer, Yale University, Department of Chemical Engineering, 1982
  • University Assistant at the Institute for Physical Chemistry, TU Vienna, 1978-1985
  • Studies of Chemistry at the Vienna University of Technology, 1972-1978
  • Graduate work in Chemistry at the Vienna University of Technology, Title of the thesis: "Acid Sites on Al2O3/MgO and Al2O3/SiO2 Mixed Metal Oxides" (summa cum laude), 1978-1980
  • Habilitation (venia docendi) for Physical Chemistry, 1985

Affiliations and Professional Service

  • Vice President, German Catalysis Society
  • German Delegate, European Federation of Catalysis Societies
  • Chairman of the Bavarian Section of the German Association of Gas Coal and Petroleum
  • Board of the German Association of Gas, Coal and Petroleum

Awards and Recognitions

PNNL Publications


  • Wang M, OY Gutierrez-Tinoco, DM Camaioni, and JA Lercher. 2018. "Palladium-Catalyzed Reductive Insertion of Alcohols into Aryl Ether Bonds." Angewandte Chemie International Edition 130(14):3809-3813.  doi:10.1002/ange.201709445
  • Prodinger S, A Vjunov, JZ Hu, JL Fulton, DM Camaioni, MA Derewinski, and JA Lercher. 2018. "Elementary Steps of Faujasite Formation Followed by in situ Spectroscopy." Chemistry of Materials 30(3):888-897.  doi:10.1021/acs.chemmater.7b04554
  • Sanwald KE, TF Berto, A Jentys, DM Camaioni, OY Gutierrez-Tinoco, and JA Lercher. 2018. "Kinetic coupling of water splitting and photoreforming on SrTiO3-based photocatalysts." ACS Catalysis 8(4):2902-2913.  doi:10.1021/acscatal.7b03192
  • Song Y, U Sanyal, D Pangotra, JD Holladay, DM Camaioni, OY Gutierrez-Tinoco, and JA Lercher. 2018. "Hydrogenation of benzaldehyde via electrocatalysis and thermal catalysis on carbon-supported metals." Journal of Catalysis 359:68-75.  doi:10.1016/j.jcat.2017.12.026


  • Mei D, and JA Lercher. 2017. "Mechanistic insights into aqueous phase propanol dehydration in h-zsm-5 zeolite." AIChE Journal 63(1):172-184.  doi:10.1002/aic.15517
  • Abreu Resende K, CE Hori, F Bellot Noronha, H Shi, OY Gutierrez-Tinoco, DM Camaioni, and JA Lercher. 2017. "Aqueous phase hydrogenation of phenol catalyzed by Pd and PdAg on ZrO2." Applied Catalysis. A, General 548:128-135.  doi:10.1016/j.apcata.2017.08.005
  • Eckstein S, PH Hintermeier, MV Olarte, Y Liu, E Barath, and JA Lercher. 2017. "Elementary steps and reaction pathways in the aqueous phase alkylation of phenol with ethanol." Journal of Catalysis 352:329-336.  doi:10.1016/j.jcat.2017.06.002
  • Hintermeier PH, S Eckstein, D Mei, MV Olarte, DM Camaioni, E Barath, and JA Lercher. 2017. "Hydronium-Ion-Catalyzed Elimination Pathways of Substituted Cyclohexanols in Zeolite H-ZSM5." ACS Catalysis 7(11):7822-7829.  doi:10.1021/acscatal.7b01582
  • Hu JZ, C Wan, A Vjunov, M Wang, Z Zhao, MY Hu, DM Camaioni, and JA Lercher. 2017. "Al MAS NMR Studies of HBEA Zeolite at Low to High Magnetic Fields." Journal of Physical Chemistry C 121(23):12849-12854.  doi:10.1021/acs.jpcc.7b03517
  • Ikuno T, J Zheng, A Vjunov, M Sanchez-Sanchez, MA Ortuno, DR Pahls, JL Fulton, DM Camaioni, Z Li, D Ray, BL Mehdi, ND Browning, O Farha, J Hupp, CJ Cramer, L Gagliardi, and JA Lercher. 2017. "Methane oxidation to methanol catalyzed by Cu-oxo clusters stabilized in NU-1000 metal-organic framework." Journal of the American Chemical Society 139(30):10294-10301.  doi:10.1021/jacs.7b02936
  • Liu Y, A Vjunov, H Shi, S Eckstein, DM Camaioni, D Mei, E Barath, and JA Lercher. 2017. "Enhancing the catalytic activity of hydronium ions through constrained environments." Nature Communications 8:Article No. 14113.  doi:10.1038/ncomms14113
  • Peroni M, I Lee, X Huang, E Barath, OY Gutierrez, and JA Lercher. 2017. "Deoxygenation of palmitic acid on unsupported transition metal phosphides." ACS Catalysis 7(9):6331-6341.  doi:10.1021/acscatal.7b01294
  • Platero-Prats AE, A League, SV Bernales Candia, J Ye, LC Gallington, A Vjunov, N Schweitzer, Z Li, J Zheng, BL Mehdi, AJ Stevens, A Dohnalkova, M Balasubramanian, O Farha, J Hupp, ND Browning, JL Fulton, DM Camaioni, JA Lercher, DG Truhlar, L Gagliardi, C Cramer, and KW Chapman. 2017. "Bridging Zirconia Nodes within a Metal-Organic Framework via Catalytic Ni-hydroxo Clusters to Form Hetero-Bimetallic Nanowires." Journal of the American Chemical Society 139(30):10410-10418.  doi:10.1021/jacs.7b04997
  • Prodinger S, H Shi, S Eckstein, JZ Hu, MV Olarte, DM Camaioni, MA Derewinski, and JA Lercher. 2017. "Stability of Zeolites in Aqueous Phase Reactions." Chemistry of Materials 29(17):7255-7262.  doi:10.1021/acs.chemmater.7b01847
  • Schachtl EC, JS Yoo, OY Gutierrez, F Studt, and JA Lercher. 2017. "Impact of Ni promotion on the hydrogenation pathways of phenanthrene on MoS2/gamma-Al2O3." Journal of Catalysis 352:171-181.  doi:10.1016/j.jcat.2017.05.003
  • Vjunov A, M Wang, N Govind, T Huthwelker, H Shi, D Mei, JL Fulton, and JA Lercher. 2017. "Tracking the chemical transformations at the Brnsted acid site upon water-induced deprotonation in a zeolite pore." Chemistry of Materials 29(21):9030-9042.  doi:10.1021/acs.chemmater.7b02133
  • Wagenhofer MF, E Barath, OY Gutierrez, and JA Lercher. 2017. "Carbon-Carbon Bond Scission Pathways in the Deoxygenation of Fatty Acids on Transition-Metal Sulfides." ACS Catalysis 7(2):1068-1076.  doi:10.1021/acscatal.6b02753
  • Zhao Z, H Shi, C Wan, MY Hu, Y Liu, D Mei, DM Camaioni, JZ Hu, and JA Lercher. 2017. "“On the Mechanism of Phenol Alkylation in Zeolite H-BEA Using In Situ Solid-State NMR Spectroscopy”." Journal of the American Chemical Society 139(27):9178-9185.  doi:10.1021/jacs.7b02153
  • Zhu Y, P Sushko, D Melzer, E Jensen, L Kovarik, C Ophus, M Sanchez-Sanchez, JA Lercher, and ND Browning. 2017. "Formation of Oxygen Radical Sites on MoVNbTeOx by Cooperative Electron Redistribution." Journal of the American Chemical Society 139(36):12342-12345.  doi:10.1021/jacs.7b05240


  • Alexopoulos K, MS Lee, Y Liu, Y Zhi, Y Liu, MF Reyniers, GB Marin, VA Glezakou, RJ Rousseau, and JA Lercher. 2016. "Anharmonicity and Confinement in Zeolites: Structure, Spectroscopy and Adsorption Free Energy of Ethanol in H-ZSM-5." Journal of Physical Chemistry C 120(13):7172-7182.  doi:10.1021/acs.jpcc.6b00923
  • Berto TF, KE Sanwald, JP Byers, ND Browning, OY Gutierrez, and JA Lercher. 2016. "Enabling Overall Water Splitting on Photocatalysts by CO-Covered Noble Metal Co-catalysts." Journal of Physical Chemistry Letters 7(21):4358-4362.  doi:10.1021/acs.jpclett.6b02151
  • Li Z, N Schweitzer, A League, SV Bernales Candia, A Peters, AG Getsoian, T Wang, JT Miller, A Vjunov, JL Fulton, JA Lercher, CJ Cramer, L Gagliardi, J Hupp, and O Farha. 2016. "Sintering-resistant Single-Site Nickel Catalyst Supported by Metal-Organic Framework." Journal of the American Chemical Society 138(6):1977-1982.  doi:10.1021/jacs.5b12515
  • Prodinger S, MA Derewinski, A Vjunov, SD Burton, I Arslan, and JA Lercher. 2016. "Improving Stability of Zeolites in Aqueous Phase via Selective Removal of Structural Defects." Journal of the American Chemical Society 138(13):4408-4415.  doi:10.1021/jacs.5b12785
  • Sanwald KE, TF Berto, W Eisenreich, OY Gutierrez, and JA Lercher. 2016. "Catalytic routes and oxidation mechanisms in photoreforming of polyols." Journal of Catalysis 344:806-816.  doi:10.1016/j.jcat.2016.08.009
  • Schreiber MW, D Rodriguez-Nino, OY Gutierrez, and JA Lercher. 2016. "Hydrodeoxygenation of fatty acid esters catalyzed by Ni on nano-sized MFI type zeolites." Catalysis Science & Technology 6(22):7976-7984.  doi:10.1039/C6CY01598K
  • Singh N, Y Song, OY Gutierrez, DM Camaioni, CT Campbell, and JA Lercher. 2016. "Electrocatalytic Hydrogenation of Phenol over Platinum and Rhodium: Unexpected Temperature Effects Resolved." ACS Catalysis 6(11):7466-7470.  doi:10.1021/acscatal.6b02296
  • Song W, Y Liu, E Barath, L Wang, C Zhao, D Mei, and JA Lercher. 2016. "Dehydration of 1-octadecanol over H-BEA: A combined experimental and computational study." ACS Catalysis 6(2):878-889.  doi:10.1021/acscatal.5b01217
  • Song Y, SH Chia, U Sanyal, OY Gutierrez, and JA Lercher. 2016. "Integrated catalytic and electrocatalytic conversion of substituted phenols and diaryl ethers." Journal of Catalysis 344:263-272.  doi:10.1016/j.jcat.2016.09.030


  • Shi H, JA Lercher, and XY Yu. 2015. "Sailing into uncharted waters: recent advances in the in situ monitoring of catalytic processes in aqueous environments." Catalysis Science & Technology 5(6):3035-3060.  doi:10.1039/C4CY01720J
  • Chase Z, S Kasakov, H Shi, A Vjunov, JL Fulton, DM Camaioni, M Balasubramanian, C Zhao, Y Wang, and JA Lercher. 2015. "State of Supported Nickel Nanoparticles during Catalysis in Aqueous Media." Chemistry - A European Journal 21(46):16541-16546.  doi:10.1002/chem.201502723
  • Foraita SD, JL Fulton, ZA Chase, A Vjunov, P Xu, E Barath, DM Camaioni, C Zhao, and JA Lercher. 2015. "Impact of the oxygen defects and the hydrogen concentration on the surface of tetragonal and monoclinic ZrO2 on the reduction rates of stearic acid on Ni/ZrO2." Chemistry - A European Journal 21(6):2423-2434.  doi:10.1002/chem.201405312
  • Hu JZ, MY Hu, Z Zhao, S Xu, A Vjunov, H Shi, DM Camaioni, CHF Peden, and JA Lercher. 2015. "Sealed Rotors for In Situ High Temperature High Pressure MAS NMR." Chemical Communications 51(70):13458-13461.  doi:10.1039/c5cc03910j
  • Kasakov S, H Shi, DM Camaioni, C Zhao, E Barath, A Jentys, and JA Lercher. 2015. "Reductive deconstruction of organosolv lignin catalyzed by zeolite supported nickel nanoparticles." Green Chemistry 17(11):5079-5090.  doi:10.1039/c5gc02160j
  • Kasakov S, C Zhao, E Barath, ZA Chase, JL Fulton, DM Camaioni, A Vjunov, H Shi, and JA Lercher. 2015. "Glucose- and Cellulose-Derived Ni/C-SO3H Catalysts for Liquid Phase Phenol Hydrodeoxygenation." Chemistry - A European Journal 21(4):1567-1577.  doi:10.1002/chem.201405242
  • Perea DE, I Arslan, J Liu, Z Ristanovic, L Kovarik, BW Arey, JA Lercher, SR Bare, and BM Weckhuysen. 2015. "Determining the Location and Nearest Neighbors of Aluminum in Zeolites with Atom Probe Tomography." Nature Communications 6:Article No. 7589.  doi:10.1038/ncomms8589
  • Vjunov A, JL Fulton, DM Camaioni, JZ Hu, SD Burton, I Arslan, and JA Lercher. 2015. "The impact of aqueous medium on zeolite framework integrity." Chemistry of Materials 27(9):3533-3545.  doi:10.1021/acs.chemmater.5b01238
  • Vjunov A, JL Fulton, T Huthwelker, S Pin, D Mei, GK Schenter, N Govind, DM Camaioni, JZ Hu, and JA Lercher. 2015. "Correction to “Quantitatively probing the Al distribution in zeolites”." Journal of the American Chemical Society 137(6):2409.  doi:10.1021/ja513077w
  • Vjunov A, MA Derewinski, JL Fulton, DM Camaioni, and JA Lercher. 2015. "Impact of zeolite aging in hot liquid water on activity for acid-catalyzed dehydration of alcohols." Journal of the American Chemical Society 137(32):10374-10382.  doi:10.1021/jacs.5b06169
  • Zhi Y, H Shi, L Mu, Y Liu, D Mei, DM Camaioni, and JA Lercher. 2015. "Dehydration pathways of 1-propanol on HZSM-5 in the presence and absence of water." Journal of the American Chemical Society 137(50):15781-15794.  doi:10.1021/jacs.5b09107


  • He J, C Zhao, D Mei, and JA Lercher. 2014. "Mechanisms of Selective Cleavage of C-O Bonds in Di-aryl Ethers in Aqueous Phase." Journal of Catalysis 309:280-290.  doi:10.1016/j.jcat.2013.09.012
  • He J, C Zhao, and JA Lercher. 2014. "Impact of solvent for individual steps of phenol hydrodeoxygenation with Pd/C and HZSM-5 as catalysts." Journal of Catalysis 309:362-375.  doi:10.1016/j.jcat.2013.09.009
  • He J, L Lu, C Zhao, D Mei, and JA Lercher. 2014. "Mechanisms of Catalytic Cleavage of Benzyl Phenyl Ether in Aqueous and Apolar Phases." Journal of Catalysis 311:41-51.  doi:10.1016/j.jcat.2013.10.024
  • Lercher JA, AM Appel, T Autrey, RM Bullock, DM Camaioni, HM Cho, DA Dixon, Z Dohnalek, F Gao, VA Glezakou, MA Henderson, JZ Hu, E Iglesia, AJ Karkamkar, BD Kay, GA Kimmel, JC Linehan, J Liu, I Lyubinetsky, D Mei, CHF Peden, RJ Rousseau, GK Schenter, WJ Shaw, J Szanyi, H Wang, Y Wang, and RS Weber. 2014. "Multifunctional Catalysts to Synthesize and Utilize Energy Carriers." In Frontiers at the Interface between Homogeneous and Heterogeneous Catalysis, II, pp. 207-219.  U.S. Department of Energy, Office of Science, Washington, DC. 
  • Vjunov A, JL Fulton, T Huthwelker, S Pin, D Mei, GK Schenter, N Govind, DM Camaioni, JZ Hu, and JA Lercher. 2014. "Quantitatively Probing the Al Distribution in Zeolites." Journal of the American Chemical Society 136(23):8296-8306.  doi:10.1021/ja501361v
  • Vjunov A, MY Hu, J Feng, DM Camaioni, D Mei, JZ Hu, C Zhao, and JA Lercher. 2014. "Following Solid-Acid-Catalyzed Reactions by MAS NMR Spectroscopy in Liquid Phase -Zeolite-Catalyzed Conversion of Cyclohexanol in Water." Angewandte Chemie International Edition 53(2):479-482.  doi:10.1002/anie.201306673
  • Yoon Y, RJ Rousseau, RS Weber, D Mei, and JA Lercher. 2014. "First-principles Study of Phenol Hydrogenation on Pt and Ni Catalysts in Aqueous Phase." Journal of the American Chemical Society 136(29):10287-10298.  doi:10.1021/ja501592y


  • Chase Z, JL Fulton, DM Camaioni, D Mei, M Balasubramanian, VT Pham, C Zhao, RS Weber, Y Wang, and JA Lercher. 2013. "State of Supported Pd during Catalysis in Water." Journal of Physical Chemistry C 117(34):17603-17612.  doi:10.1021/jp404772p
  • Lemonidou AA, EC Vagia, and JA Lercher. 2013. "Acetic Acid Reforming over Rh Supported on La2O3/CeO2-ZrO2: Catalytic Performance and Reaction Pathway Analysis." ACS Catalysis 3(9):1919-1928.  doi:10.1021/cs4003063
  • Shi H, OY Gutierrez, GL Haller, D Mei, RJ Rousseau, and JA Lercher. 2013. "Structure sensitivity of hydrogenolytic cleavage of endocyclic and exocyclic C-C bonds in methylcyclohexane over supported iridium particles." Journal of Catalysis 297:70-78.  doi:10.1016/j.jcat.2012.09.018
  • Shi H, OY Gutierrez, H Yang, ND Browning, GL Haller, and JA Lercher. 2013. "Catalytic Consequences of Particle Size and Chloride Promotion in the Ring-Opening of Cyclopentane on Pt/Al2O3." ACS Catalysis 3(3):328-338.  doi:10.1021/cs300636j
  • Song W, C Zhao, and JA Lercher. 2013. "Importance of Size and Distribution of Ni Nanoparticles for the Hydrodeoxygenation of Microalgae Oil." Chemistry - A European Journal 19(30):9833-9842.  doi:10.1002/chem.201301005
  • Yu Y, OY Gutierrez, GL Haller, RJ Colby, BC Kabius, JA Rob van Veen, A Jentys, and JA Lercher. 2013. "Tailoring Silica-alumina Supported Pt-Pd As Poison Tolerant Catalyst For Aromatics Hydrogenation ." Journal of Catalysis 304:135-148.  doi:10.1016/j.jcat.2013.04.009
  • Zhao C, T Bruck, and JA Lercher. 2013. "Catalytic deoxygenation of microalgae oil to green hydrocarbons." Green Chemistry 15(7):1720-1739.  doi:10.1039/C3GC40558C


  • Hu MY, J Feng, DM Camaioni, RVF Turcu, CHF Peden, JA Lercher, and JZ Hu. 2012. "IN-SITU MAGIC ANGLE SPINNING NMR INVESTIGATIONS ON CATALYTIC CONVERSION OF BIOGENIC MOLECULES IN THE PRESENCE OF AQUEOUS WATER." In Proceedings of the 244th American Chemical Society National Meeting and Exposition, Division of Petroleum Chemistry, August 19-23, 2012, Philadelphia, PA, vol. 57, no. 2, pp. 215-217.  American Chemical Society, Washington DC. 
  • Zhao C, DM Camaioni, and JA Lercher. 2012. "Selective catalytic hydroalkylation and deoxygenation of substituted phenols to bicycloalkanes." Journal of Catalysis 288:92-103.  doi:10.1016/j.jcat.2012.01.005

Selected Publications


  •  Zhao C, J He, AA Lemonidou, Li X, and JA Lercher. 2011. Journal of Catalysis. "Aqueous-Phase Hydrodeoxygenation of Bio-Derived Phenols to Cycloalkanes."  280:8-16.


  • Wawrzetz A, B Peng, A Hrabar, A Jentys, AA Lemonidou, and JA Lercher. 2010. "Towards Understanding the Bifunctional Hydrodeoxygenation and Aqueous Phase Reforming of Glycerol." Journal of Catalysis 269:411-420.
  • Zhao C, Y Kou, AA Lemonidou, X Li, and JA Lercher. 2010. "Hydrodeoxygenation of Phenols to Hydrocarbons using Raney Ni and Nafion/SiO2 Catalysts."  Chemical Communications 46:412-414.


  • Gobin OC, SJ Reitmeier, A Jentys, and JA Lercher. 2009. "Comparison of the Transport of Aromatic Compounds in Small and Large MFI Particles." Journal of Physical Chemistry C 113:20435-20444.
  • Gobin OC, SJ Reitmeier, A Jentys, and JA Lercher. 2009. "Diffusion Pathways of Benzene, Toluene and p-Xylene in MFI." Microporous and Mesoporous Materials 125:3-10.
  • Kaltner W, A Jentys, and JA Lercher. 2009. "Effect of Chromium Migration from Metallic Supports on the Activity of Diesel Exhaust Catalysts."  Applied Catalysis B, Environmental 89:123-127.
  • Knapp R, A Jentys, and JA Lercher. 2009. "Impact of Supported Ionic Liquids on Supported Pt Catalysts."  Green Chemistry 11:656-661.
  • Peringer E, M Salzinger, M Hutt, AA Lemonidou, and JA Lercher. 2009. "Modified Lanthanum Catalysts for Oxidative Chlorination of Methane." Topics in Catalysis 52:1220-1231.
  • Peringer E, M Salzinger, M Hutt, AA Lemonidou, and JA Lercher. 2009. "Modified Lanthanum Catalysts for Oxidative Chlorination of Methane." Topics in Catalysis 52:1220-1231.
  • Reitmeier SJ, OC Gobin, A Jentys, and JA Lercher. 2009. "Influence of Post-synthetic Surface Modification on Shape Selective Transport of Aromatic Molecules in HZSM-5." Journal of Physical Chemistry C 113:15355-15363.
  • Schärringer P, TE Müller, A Jentys, A Suppan, and JA Lercher. 2009. "Identification of Reaction Intermediates During Hydrogenation of CD3CN on Raney-Co."  Journal of Catalysis 263:34-41.

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