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  • Understanding the structure–performance relationships of heterogeneous catalysts is of fundamental importance for their deployment in industry. However, gaps exist between the conditions and catalytic materials commonly employed in laboratory studies and those encountered in practical reactors. This Perspective highlights the importance of recognizing such gaps, with the goal to inform the planning of academic research and maximize its impact.

    • Arik Beck
    • Vladimir Paunović
    • Jeroen A. van Bokhoven
  • Progress in the field of photocatalytic CO2 reduction has been constrained by a lack of comparability between studies. This Perspective provides recommendations for best practices in the undertaking and reporting of experimental data in this promising research area.

    • Marcella Bonchio
    • Julien Bonin
    • Marc Robert
  • Catalytic pyrolysis is a promising process for the valorization of biomass and plastic waste, although several aspects related to its practical utilization remain unexplored. This Perspective revisits the salient features of catalytic pyrolysis, identifying a roadmap to advance the application of this technology at commercial scale.

    • Cody J. Wrasman
    • A. Nolan Wilson
    • Mark R. Nimlos
  • Reaction networks provide complete mechanistic understanding of catalytic processes, although they can be highly complex and thus very challenging to obtain. This Perspective discusses the use of machine learning for the exploration of reaction networks in heterogeneous catalysis.

    • Johannes T. Margraf
    • Hyunwook Jung
    • Karsten Reuter
  • Combining computational and experimental methods is a powerful approach, but these are not always directly comparable. This Perspective discusses the relationship between experimental measurements and theoretical calculations in electrocatalysis and aims to enhance the connections between the two.

    • Joaquin Resasco
    • Frank Abild-Pedersen
    • Thomas F. Jaramillo
  • Reliable testing of fuel cell and electrolyser catalysts is crucial for comparison between studies. This Perspective discusses the differences between rotating disk electrode (RDE) and membrane electrode assembly (MEA) testing of electrocatalysts, and identifies where RDE can be useful and when MEA is more appropriate to study activity and stability under realistic conditions.

    • Timon Lazaridis
    • Björn M. Stühmeier
    • Hany A. El-Sayed
  • Most applications of machine learning in catalysis use black-box models to predict physical properties, but extracting meaningful physical insights from them is challenging. This Perspective discusses machine learning approaches for heterogeneous catalysis and classifies them in terms of their interpretability.

    • Jacques A. Esterhuizen
    • Bryan R. Goldsmith
    • Suljo Linic
  • Liquid fuels produced by electrocatalytic CO2 reduction are costly to separate from liquid electrolytes in a conventional cell. This Perspective identifies the need for novel cell designs that can directly produce high-concentration and high-purity products and discusses the progress towards this goal using porous solid electrolytes.

    • Peng Zhu
    • Haotian Wang
  • The practical implementation of CO2 electrocatalysis is premised on the availability of captured CO2—a consideration that is often overlooked. This Perspective presents several concepts for integrating CO2 capture with electrochemical CO2 conversion for the enhancement of overall efficiency.

    • Ian Sullivan
    • Andrey Goryachev
    • Chengxiang Xiang
  • Electrochemical CO2 reduction is a complex process with many competing products, yet nature has evolved ways to overcome these issues. This Perspective makes connections between the motifs observed in nature and strategies that can be employed in synthetic systems for the advancement of selectivity in CO2 reduction.

    • Hannah S. Shafaat
    • Jenny Y. Yang
  • Methanol is a leading candidate for storage of solar-energy-derived renewable electricity as energy-dense liquid fuel, yet there are different approaches to achieving this goal. This Perspective comparatively assesses indirect CO- and direct CO2-based solar strategies and identifies the conditions under which the former becomes economically viable.

    • Athanasios A. Tountas
    • Geoffrey A. Ozin
    • Mohini M. Sain
  • Synthetic chemical processes often do not operate at sustainable or mild conditions—in contrast with natural complex reaction networks. This Perspective provides a roadmap for bio-inspired integrated catalytic systems for chemical manufacturing, sketching a biologically based future of industrial catalysis.

    • Simon Burgener
    • Shanshan Luo
    • Tobias J. Erb
  • Genetic incorporation of unnatural amino acids into proteins broadens the possibilities of enzyme design. This Perspective discusses the exciting opportunities for biocatalysis offered by this method — such as new-to-nature catalytic activities — and potential benefits over classical enzyme engineering.

    • Ivana Drienovská
    • Gerard Roelfes
  • Carbon monoxide can be electrochemically transformed to multi-carbon products selectively at high rates, raising the prospect of a two-step pathway to transform CO2 into value-added chemical products. This Perspective highlights recent progress complemented by a techno-economic analysis of the two-step conversion process and cradle-to-gate lifecycle assessment.

    • Matthew Jouny
    • Gregory S. Hutchings
    • Feng Jiao
  • The energies of the species in a given reaction network are linked by linear scaling relationships, limiting the design of catalysts with improved activity and selectivity. In this Perspective, López and Pérez-Ramírez discuss strategies to circumvent such scaling relationships.

    • Javier Pérez-Ramírez
    • Núria López
  • While the oxidative addition of Pd to carbon–halide bonds is often regarded as being essentially irreversible, this is sometimes not the case. This Perspective looks at the conditions leading to reductive elimination of Pd from carbon–halide bonds, and the synthetic opportunities that this offers are discussed.

    • David J. Jones
    • Mark Lautens
    • Gerard P. McGlacken
  • Solid oxide fuel cells have been identified as a promising technology to decarbonize the transportation sector. This perspective describes recent advances in the area and identifies those crucial aspects that still require development in order to favour the practical application of this technology.

    • Paul Boldrin
    • Nigel P. Brandon
  • While converting methane to methanol is an attractive process, making a catalytic—and commercially viable—route has presented severe difficulties. Here van Bokhoven and co-workers discuss the successes, problems and misconceptions in the field, focusing on the reaction with molecular oxygen over zeolites.

    • Manoj Ravi
    • Vitaly L. Sushkevich
    • Jeroen A. van Bokhoven
  • CO2 hydrogenation is frequently acclaimed as a strategy for greenhouse gases mitigation, although the carbon footprint of the corresponding electrocatalytic or thermocatalytic process is often neglected. This Perspective analyses the amount of CO2 generated during methanol production for different catalytic processes and hybrid thereof.

    • Brian M. Tackett
    • Elaine Gomez
    • Jingguang G. Chen
  • The electrochemical reduction of nitrogen is being intensely investigated as the basis for future ammonia production. This Perspective critiques current steps and missteps towards this goal in terms of experimental methodology and catalyst selection, proposing a protocol for rigorous experimentation.

    • Bryan H. R. Suryanto
    • Hoang-Long Du
    • Douglas R. MacFarlane