Catalysis is recognized to be one of the key technologies in enabling the sustainability of chemical processes. Examples of catalysis for efficient use of resources and energies include naphtha cracking, catalytic converters in automobiles, and many new synthesis routes for chemicals production reported in the past several decades. Although the shortage of carbon feedstocks from oil is relieved by shale developments in North America, global warming and climate change urge the chemical industry to develop new processes, in which sustainability is a necessity and requirement. Catalyst development is facing the challenge of answering this need.
This special issue contains papers selected from the 6th Asia–Pacific Congress on Catalysis (APCAT-6) held in Taipei, Taiwan in October 13–17, 2013. As the growth in chemical industry has shifted to Asia in the past 25 years, the themes of the conference focused on “New Era of Catalysis: Efficiency, Value, and Sustainability”, with important application topics such as biomass conversion, environmental catalysis, catalysis for new energies, fine chemical synthesis, photocatalysis, industrial catalysis & processing, membrane & separation, catalyst preparation and characterization, theory & modelling, and others. With 800 participants and ca. 200 papers presented from 20 countries, only selected papers that have passed the high-standard review criteria are presented in this issue.
Material synthesis with good control in both structure and composition is a new challenge for efficient catalysts. With the help of material science, new reagents and new catalyst synthesis approaches open up new directions for catalysts design. Two papers include ionic liquids in their catalysts preparation. Composite materials containing CNTs and graphenes are explored for catalysis and supercapacitor uses.
Photocatalysis is expected to utilize sunlight in driving chemical reactions. A Minireview by Yamashita and coworkers focuses on the design of photocatalysts using mesoporous SiO2 as substrate. Another Minireview by Colmenares discusses the preparation of photocatalysts by ultrasound-based methodologies and their applications in oxidation of organic contaminants. Carbon nitride materials with a two-dimensional texture and with boron and/or fluoride dopants are also reported as a new type of photocatalysts.
Bioresources are expected as the sustainable raw materials for energy and chemicals. Related papers include the conversion of cellulose to formic acid and latic acid, latic acid conversion into industrially valuable intermediate acrylic acid, and a new catalyst for biofuel (vanillin) using formic acid as the hydrogen transfer agent.