Introduction

Catalysts are big business. The chemical industry depends upon catalysts. We depend upon the chemical industry for our 21st century life style. We depend on catalysts.

Staggering statistics

80% of processes in the chemical industry use catalysts. Catalyst sales in 2005 were estimated to be worth around US$11 billion. Growth in catalyst sales is estimated to be increasing at about 4.5% per year. In excess of US$3 trillion in goods and services in world-wide Gross Domestic Product annually can be attributed to catalysts. The conversion of coal or natural gas to anything uses a catalyst.

What do they do for the chemical industry?

Catalysts have an enormous impact on the chemical industry because they:

  • enable reactions to take place
  • make processes more efficient
  • a 0.5% to 1% increase in selectivity can lead to a up to 1 million dollar increase in operating profit
  • make processes environmentally friendly.

Key characteristics of catalysts are their activity, selectivity and lifetime.