Nanocatalysts for industrial applications

Nanostructured materials are already being widely used in various industrial catalytic processes. Nanocatalysts are also engineered to tackle grand challenges such as the transition from fossil to renewable energy resources and sustainable agriculture. Thanks to the big progress on the electrocatalysts, the conversion of CO2 to useful chemicals are now moving from a laboratory curiosity to a commercially viable process. The improved control over catalytic performance and achieved commercial relevance can be attributed to the better understanding of catalytic nanomaterials and processes. Heterogeneous catalysts are usually very complex and their performance can be determined by various factors, for instance, the electronic characteristics, size, morphology of the catalyst and the interaction of the active sites with the supports.  And it is hard to decouple their individual contributions to gain molecular-level understanding. The advance of synthesis, characterizations and theoretical approaches, the use of simplified models facilitates better fundamental understanding of the structure-performance relationships, benefiting the rational design of increasingly sophisticated structures with ever more complex behaviours.

Molecules binding to actives sites on a crystalline surface.