Honoring Christos Comninellis
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Graduating in chemistry with honor from the University of Alexandria, Christos Comninellis started his 40-year scientific career at EPFL in 1971. From the very beginning, his research work has been focused on applied electrochemistry. His first research subject, that of his PhD thesis, was the electrochemical perfluorination of organic compounds in anhydrous hydrogen fluoride. Then, in collaboration with industry, he developed oxidation processes with regeneration of the oxidant using a new type of bipolar electrochemical reactor. In the 1980s and 1990s, he became more and more involved in environmental electrochemistry. Applied research for the utilization of electrochemical techniques by industry for the protection of the environment is a constant concern within his activities. As a result of his curiosity and perseverance, his scientific interest has continuously widened. His actual research work is focused on varying fields of applied electrochemistry including environmental electrochemistry, electrocatalysis, electrode materials development, fuel cells, and electrochemical promotion of catalysis.
During the four decades of his rich academic career, Christos Comninellis has published over 250 scientific papers, been granted 15 patents, and directed some 30 doctoral theses. Appointed professor in 1996, he always accorded teaching central importance in his professional activity, and has taught generations of young electrochemists and chemical engineers with enthusiasm and professionalism. Being always friendly, open-minded and humane, he is very much appreciated by his students as well as by his peers; many of whom have become his good friend. In 2008 he was elected Fellow of the International Society of Electrochemistry, in recognition of his seminal contribution to the progress of modern electrochemistry. He is member of the advisory board of Electrochimica Acta and the editorial board of Journal of Applied Electrochemistry.
Of all of his accomplishments, the greatest impact on applied electrochemistry has been through the development of a model of organics anodic oxidation and its application to electrosynthesis and electrochemical wastewater treatment, through development and pioneering application of new electrode materials like DSA-types anodes and boron-doped diamond, and through understanding new phenomena like electrochemical promotion of catalysis. This commemorative volume is organized around these themes. It was my privilege and pleasure to work with many of his friends to assemble this special issue. All of us, together with the whole electrochemical community, wish Professor Comninellis a happy birthday and continuing success.