catalysis for alternative energy generation pdf

In the case of biomass and renewables, poisoning of the catalyst surface by polar
molecules must be avoided. The “ideal” catalyst takes oxygen atoms out of the
polar molecules and stores them in its structure in such a way that the catalyst
becomes ready to do its job, the conversion of biomass into fuels and basic
chemicals.

For methane conversion, catalytic research boils down to “selectivity”: selective
activation of the C–H bond while avoiding complete burning of methane into
carbon dioxide and water. The ideal catalysts, as described above, do not exist, except for the enzymes that activate methane by insertion of an oxygen atom in the C–H bond. We must rely on
1. The design and construction of improved catalyst materials, which are designed
by either combinatorial methods or rational catalyst design, based on theory and
advanced characterization methods
2. The intelligent combination of different types of catalysts, making use of the
respective strengths of these catalytic materials; all combinations should be
allowed: enzyme plus heterogeneous catalyst, homogeneous plus heterogeneous
catalyst; and so on;. In this respect, photocatalysis also comes into the picture;
and
3. Alternative reaction media in which catalytic and separation technologies are
combined. Examples include catalysis in ionic liquids, supercritical conditions.
In this way, nonreactive aggregates of molecules can be disentangled into
monomolecular entities, which are more susceptible to catalytic attack.

Finally, irrespective of the catalytic process developed, questions will be raised
about the sustainability of the catalyst, its impact on the environment, and its impact
on climate. The economic, environmental, and social impacts of a process must be
evaluated before production can start. Scientists must take these considerations into
account in multidisciplinary studies.

Readers of this book will learn about the importance of catalysis in these
processes. Introductory chapters discuss catalysis and catalytic processes to handle
the broad variety of alternative feedstocks (biomass, methane, very heavy crude,
and bitumen) that one can use for the production of transportation fuels and
chemicals. The start of the discussion is knowledge of the performance of the
catalysts currently on the market and the performance of catalysts in development.
Further chapters explore the effect of impurities and poisons in these alternative
feedstocks on the performance of existing catalyst materials and propose new
challenges for improving these materials. In addition, several routes are designed
to approach the “ideal” multifunctional catalyst or the “most appropriate”
combination of “ideal” catalytic materials to handle these new feedstocks.