Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada
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Current Winner
2009 NSERC Doctoral Prize

Gregory Welch


University of Windsor

Gregory Welch
Gregory Welch

A greener, cheaper and more efficient way to produce hydrogen may be in the works thanks to research conducted by chemist Gregory Welch. His work has generated a patent and earned him a 2009 NSERC Doctoral Prize.

Dr. Welch's findings come from working with a group of chemicals that members of his team christened "frustrated Lewis pairs"—combinations of certain acids and bases that defy expectations by not reacting with one another to form a stable third compound. The research group's work formed the basis of a highly cited article in the journal Science.

He has been able to take advantage of that failed chemical relationship to design compounds and reactions that can activate and release hydrogen without using more toxic metal-based substances.

In addition to charting new territory in the theoretical understanding of acids and bases, Dr. Welch's work has significant potential applications in areas such as hydrogen fuel production and hydrogenation—the process of adding hydrogen to other molecules for various industrial purposes.