July 2012

Special Report: 90 Years of Progress in the HPI

Catalyst developments: The past 90 years

While catalysis has made many advances in the last 90 years, the application of new technologies developed in other areas may offer great promise for future breakthroughs.

Heinen, R., IHS Chemical

Prior to 1922, the development of three important German catalytic processes had shown the potential impact that catalysis could have on the process industry. One was the so-called contact process for producing sulfuric acid catalytically from the sulfur dioxide generated by smelting operations. Another was the catalytic method for synthetic production of the valuable dyestuff indigo. The third was the catalytic combination of nitrogen and hydrogen for the production of ammonia—the Haber-Bosch process for nitrogen fixation. Present day value The impact of catalysis is substantial with over 90% of all industrial chemicals produced aided by catalysts. Annually speaking, process cat

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