Original Paper

Topics in Catalysis

, Volume 52, Issue 12, pp 1630-1639

First online:

A General Strategy for the Design of New Solid Catalysts for Environmentally Benign Conversions

Solid Catalysts for Benign Conversions
  • John Meurig ThomasAffiliated withDepartment of Materials Science and Metallurgy, University of Cambridge Email author 
  • , Juan Carlos Hernandez-GarridoAffiliated withDepartment of Materials Science and Metallurgy, University of Cambridge
  • , Robert G. BellAffiliated withDepartment of Chemistry, University College London

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After first outlining in qualitative terms progress made in predicting and modelling solids in general, a brief account is given of the substantial progress made in enumerating hypothetical open structures based on 4-coordinantion, some of which will possibly play a role in the catalytic conversion of carbohydrates that figure eminently in renewable feedstocks. Specifically, in outlining trends in processing renewable organic species, attention is paid to (i) converting starch into potentially important new fuels; (ii) the catalytic dehydration of bio-ethanol to yield ethylene; and (iii) catalytically assisted modifications that can be made to bio-glycerol, especially via oxidation. Finally, progress made in a general strategy for the design of new catalysts is outlined, and a tabulation given of a dozen or so examples that have high commercial significance.


Design of catalysts Renewable feedstocks Structure prediction Solid acid catalysts Ethanol to ethylene Biodiesel Bioglycerol Open structures Starch