Catalysis for net zero

image credit: DMCA – & Kouji Tsuru, Skyler Smith –

Catalysis: the essential tool for achieving resilience in a net zero carbon society

Achieving a net zero carbon society is impossible without catalysis; catalysts are central to efficient chemical processes and manufacturing, controlling both the rates and energy demand of chemical reactions. For society, catalysis is essential to deliver the materials, energy vectors, fertilizers, medicines, electronics and products we need. It is also essential to implement and deliver the net zero agenda, from ‚Äėgreen‚Äô hydrogen, to large-scale energy storage, from a re-imagined fully sustainable chemical industry to green steel ‚Äď advances in catalysis will deliver these future manufacturing industries.

At present, the UK chemical industry is based on the remnants of a 20th century model, highly dependent on fossil carbon. The basic building blocks are a range of around 20 platform chemicals derived from oil or natural gas (e.g. methanol and ethene) and from these chemicals it is possible to make the multitude of high value chemicals used in pharmaceuticals, fragrances, personal care, home care, food, agriculture, plastics and materials sectors. The current chemical industry is, however, interwoven with fossil fuels supply. The drive to net zero carbon provides the UK with the ideal opportunity to decouple chemicals from fossil energy and to focus on the lower volume, higher value chemicals and sustainable energy storage sectors. With new catalysis, we can develop the clean manufacturing and products of the future: fit for a sustainable and high-tech set of future industries including core industries, such as healthcare products, as well for future sectors such as automation; and to ensure that the electrification of transportation is delivered by polymer materials which also embrace net zero carbon.

A circular economy depends on the development and application of a large variety of new catalytic processes. Innovation in catalysis is key to delivering a sustainable circular economy moving the UK to net zero combined with resilience to achieve clean growth.

Find out more about the ways the UK Catalysis Hub is working to achieve a net zero carbon society below:

Importance of Catalysis for Achieving Net Zero

It is critical to develop a broad portfolio of affordable and efficient technologies that can manage and ultimately overcome the climate crisis. The burden of developing such technologies to reverse the adverse effects of emissions without compromising the living standards lie with the scientific and engineering community in both academia…

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Nanostructured Solid/Liquid Acid Catalysts for Glycerol Esterification: The Key to Convert Liability into Assets

Researchers from Queen’s University Belfast and members of the UK Catalysis Hub have published a perspective article on the application of nanostructured solid/liquid acid catalysts for upgrading glycerol to glycerol esters. In the present scenario of increasing energy demand and current climate emergency, biorefinery concept has great potential to contribute…

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Watch now – On The Mechanism of Catalytic Methanol Synthesis

When: 28 April 2023, 15:00 BSTWhere: Online Methanol is an important platform chemical and is made on the industrial scale using heterogeneous catalysts. It is currently made in an extremely unsustainable manner, and new routes are needed, utilising ‘green’ hydrogen. The mechanism of the surface reactions involved and work relating‚Ķ

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Watch Now Early Career Researcher symposium – Lignins

When: 22 March 2023, 15:00 Р17:00 GMTWhere: Online The UK Catalysis Hub are hosting a series of seminars for Early Career Researchers on the use of catalysts (bio, hetero- and homo-geneous) towards sustainable solutions in the carbon economy. The next virtual seminar for Early Career Researchers will be on…

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Fracking wastewater treatment: Catalytic performance and life cycle environmental impacts of cerium-based mixed oxide catalysts for catalytic wet oxidation of organic compounds

Fracking wastewater treatment abstract image

Fracking is a controversial technique that involves injecting water, sand and chemicals into shale rock to extract natural gas. One of the main challenges of fracking is how to treat the wastewater that is generated, which contains high concentrations of salt and organic pollutants. A new study conducted by the…

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Sustainable fuels and chemicals from biomass by Dr Christopher M. A. Parlett

A video on the sustainable fuels and chemicals from biomass by Dr Christopher M. A. Parlett, University of Manchester ‚Äď Diamond Light Source Research Fellow in Catalysis Lignocellulosic biomass represents a sustainable feedstock for the production of carbon-based chemicals and fuels, which can function as drop-in replacements for conventional fossil‚Ķ

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