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Heterogeneous Catalysis by Metals

  1. Zhen Ma,
  2. Francisco Zaera

Published Online: 15 MAR 2006

DOI: 10.1002/0470862106.ia084

Encyclopedia of Inorganic Chemistry

Encyclopedia of Inorganic Chemistry

How to Cite

Ma, Z. and Zaera, F. 2006. Heterogeneous Catalysis by Metals. Encyclopedia of Inorganic Chemistry. .

Author Information

  1. University of California, Riverside, CA, USA

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 15 MAR 2006


Approximately 80% of the processes in the chemical industries require the use of catalysts. Because of that, catalysis generates annual global sales of about $1.5 trillion, and contributes directly or indirectly to approximately 35% of the world's GDP. Most catalytic processes are heterogeneous in nature, and often rely on the use of transition metal particles dispersed on high surface area supports. In this chapter, the basic chemical concepts behind heterogeneous metal catalysis are introduced. Examples are then provided for typical practical catalytic systems used in the generation of energy, the production of chemicals, the preparation of materials, and the cleaning of the environment. Finally, several promising new research directions related to the future development of heterogeneous metal catalysis are highlighted, in particular those associated with the designing and characterization of novel catalytic materials, the surface science of catalysis, high throughput catalyst testing, improved selectivities, and green chemistry.


  • heterogeneous catalysis;
  • transition metals;
  • energy production;
  • chemical manufacturing;
  • materials synthesis;
  • environmental control;
  • surface chemistry;
  • selectivity