Catalysis, the solution for climate change?


Credit: World Scientific

Catalysis will play a major role in tackling the grand challenges of the 21st Century, such as climate change, growing demands and subsequent environmental issues stemming from the predicted rise in global population. It already plays a leading role in many processes that contribute to human well-being: including energy generation, food production, transportation, healthcare and well-being, and water (in the form of wastewater treatment). The contribution of catalysis to manufacturing adds up to almost 40% of global GDP–and the demand for such catalysts will only increase.

Catalysts make existing processes greener. In other words, they produce less waste, consume less energy and use fewer raw materials to make the same mass of products. This will also mean new pathways to existing materials and products from renewable feedstocks, for example, and also routes to entirely new classes of materials with as yet unimagined properties. Catalysts make processes more efficient and effective and each of these challenges will require advances in catalytic technology in diverse sectors from energy, to water, food production, functional materials, bulk and intermediate materials and pharmaceuticals/fine chemicals. In order to maximise the benefits from research and create the greatest contribution to all these areas and more, improved understanding and targeted research programmes with collaboration between academia and industry are required to deepen understanding and develop new catalytic processes by using a design led approach.

Edited by Graham Hutchings (Cardiff University, UK), Matthew Davidson (University of Bath, UK), Richard Catlow (University College London, UK & Cardiff University, UK), Christopher Hardacre (University of Manchester, UK), Nicholas Turner (University of Manchester, UK) and Paul Collier (Johnson Matthey Technology Centre, UK), Modern Developments in Catalysis provides a review of current research and practise on catalysis, focussing on five main themes: catalysis design, environmental catalysis, catalysis and energy, chemical transformation and biocatalysis and biotransformations.

This book highlights many powerful examples of how catalysis can impact society and also how catalysis science is making use of the most advanced capabilities and techniques to shed light on how catalytic processes work. Topics range from complex reactions to the intricacies of catalyst preparation for supported nanoparticles, while chapters illustrate the challenges facing catalytic science and the directions in which the field is developing.

Modern Developments in Catalysis provides a unique learning opportunity for students and professionals studying and working towards speeding-up, improving and increasing the rate of catalytic reactions in science and industry.


This book is sold at major bookstores at US$139 / £115 (hardcover). To know more about the book, or to place and order, visit

About the Editors

C. Richard A. Catlow has long standing experience in the development and application of both experimental and computer modelling techniques in catalysis and molecular sciences. He holds approximately £2.5M of current EPSRC funding and has extensive experience in the field of HPC simulation techniques. He has been PI of the EPSRC funded Materials Chemistry HPC consortium for 15 years and has wide experience in managing large flexible consortium grants including a portfolio partnership grant (2005-2010), a High Performance Computing Consortium grant (2008-2013), and is currently the PI of the Centre for Catalytic Science (2011-2016).

Graham J. Hutchings is the Director of the Cardiff Catalysis Institute and is the inaugural Director of the UK Catalysis Hub. The UK Catalysis Hub will coordinate and strengthen research efforts in catalytic science, allowing the UK to remain a world-leader in the field and tackle major global challenges. There will be a strong emphasis on energy sustainability, environmental protection and innovative catalytic processes to support the UK chemical industry. One of Prof Graham Hutchings' major scientific achievements is the pioneering work of using gold as an active catalyst, which still remains today as an important area of research.

Christopher Hardacre's research is focused on the understanding of heterogeneously catalysed reactions including water gas shift catalysis, the use of transients to determine gas phase mechanisms, liquid phase hydrogenation and oxidation of pharmaceuticals, low temperature fuel cells and clean energy production. Of particular interest is the development of techniques to probe reaction mechanisms at short time scales in the gas phase and the understanding of solvent effects in liquid phase reactions. Strong interactions exist between his group and the theory group of Prof Peijun Hu (QUB) in order to develop DFT methods to predict new catalysts and validate the proposals made. He has also developed a strong research group in ionic liquids within the Queen's University Ionic Liquids Laboratory (QUILL) University-Industry research centre with interests in heterogeneously catalysed reactions, structural determination of ionic liquids, and species dissolved therein, analytical aspects, electrochemistry and prediction of physical properties of ionic liquids.

Matthew G. Davidson is Whorrod Professor of Sustainable Chemical Technologies and director of the Centre for Sustainable Chemical Technologies at the University of Bath. His research interests are in the application of catalysis to the sustainable manufacture of fuels, materials and chemicals. Following a PhD and Research Fellowship at Cambridge, he held lectureships in Cambridge and Durham before being appointed to a Chair at the University of Bath. He is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Chemistry and a recipient of the Harrison Memorial Prize of the Royal Society of Chemistry and a Royal Society Industry Fellowship. He currently serves on the REF 2014 Chemistry Panel and holds over £13M of funding from research councils and industry.

Nicholas J. Turner obtained his DPhil in 1985 with Prof Sir Jack Baldwin and from 1985-1987 was a Royal Society Junior Research Fellow, spending time at Harvard University with Prof George Whitesides. He was appointed lecturer in 1987 at Exeter University and moved to Edinburgh in 1995, initially as a Reader and subsequently Professor in 1998. In October 2004 he joined Manchester University as Professor of Chemical Biology where his research group is located in the Manchester Institute of Biotechnology Biocentre (MIB: He is Director of the Centre of Excellence in Biocatalysis (CoEBio3) ( and also a cofounder and Scientific Director of Ingenza (, a spin-out biocatalysis company based in Edinburgh and more recently Discovery Biocatalysts. He is a member of the Editorial Board of ChemCatChem and Advanced Synthesis and Catalysis. His research interests are in the area of biocatalysis with particular emphasis on the discovery and development of novel enzyme catalysed reactions for applications in organic synthesis. His group are also interested in the application of directed evolution technologies for the development of biocatalysts with tailored functions.

Paul Collier is a Senior Research Scientist at the Johnson Matthey Technology Centre, Sonning Common, UK. He is interested in all aspects of heterogeneous catalysis, especially gas phase catalysis. Dr Paul collier spends approximately one day a week at the Harwell Campus interacting with the UK Catalysis Hub and Diamond Light source. Paul completed his PhD at Liverpool University in 1996 before undertaking a postdoctoral research position at Cardiff University focusing on the direct synthesis of Hydrogen peroxide, as well as investigating other catalytic systems. Following this he went to work for Johnson Matthey.

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