Catalysis schematic figure

A catalyst is a chemical that speeds up a chemical reaction, but is not used up in the reaction. Because the catalyst isn’t consumed in the reaction, a single molecule of catalyst can catalyze the formation of thousands or millions of molecules of product. Catalysis is what we call the process when a catalyst speeds up a chemical reaction. Catalysis can even allow chemical reactions to occur that wouldn't be possible without the presence of a catalyst. Industrial production of nearly all fuels, plastics, medicines and the other chemicals you use daily rely on catalysis, and development of new catalysts is critical for the development of more efficient, economic and greener technologies.

Catalysis is important because:
  • 80% of industrial chemical production requires catalysis
  • Goods and services resulting from catalysis contribute more than $10 trillion to the global economy
  • Catalysis provides solutions to problems of global significance such as developing alternative energy sources and reducing environmental impacts of chemical and fuel use and production by:
    • allowing chemical processes to use less energy and produce less waste
    • enabling the use of renewable resources to make fuels and useful chemicals

Catalysis Research at CENTC