Elementary steps in heterogeneous catalysis: The basis for environmental chemistry

Open access


Catalysis is an alternative way for reaching an immediate formation of a product, because of a lower energy barrier (between the molecules and the catalysts). Heterogeneous catalysis comprises the acceleration of a chemical reaction through interaction of the molecules involved with the surface of a solid. It is a discipline, which involves all the different aspects of chemistry: inorganic and analytical chemistry in order to characterize the catalysts and the forms of these catalysts. The industrial chemistry puts all these things together to understand the solid chemical handling, chemical reaction and energy engineering and the heat and mass transfer in these catalytic processes. Very often there are more than one, but several products, then the role of the catalyst is not so much related to activity, but to selectivity. The underlying elementary steps can now be investigated down to the atomic scale as will be illustrated mainly with two examples: the oxidation of carbon monoxide (car exhaust catalyst) and the synthesis of ammonia (the basis for nitrogen fertilizer). There is a huge market for the catalysts themselves despite of their high costs. A large fraction is used for petroleum refineries, automotive and industrial cleaning processes. The catalytic processes is a wide field and there are still many problems concerning energy conservation and energy transformation, so there is much to do in the future.

If the inline PDF is not rendering correctly, you can download the PDF file here.

  • [1] Winterlin J Schuster R Ertl G. Existence of a “Hot” Atom Mechanism for the Dissociation of O2 on Pt(111). Phys Rev Lett. 1996:77:123-129. DOI: 10.1103/PhysRevLett.77.123.

  • [2] Zambelli T. Wintterlin J Trost J. Ertl G. Identification of the ‘active sites’ of a surface-catalyzed reaction. Science. 1996:273:1688-1690. DOI: 10.1126/science.273.5282.1688.

  • [3] Schwegmann S Over H De Renzi V Ertl G. The atomic geometry of the O and CO + O phases on Rh(111). Surf Sci. 1997;375:91-106. DOI: 10.1016/S0039-6028(97)01249-1.

  • [4] Szabo A Kiskinova M Yates JT. J Chem Phys. 1989;90:4604. DOI: 10.1063/1.456620.

  • [5] Martynova X Yang B Yu A Boscoboinik JA Shaikhutdinov S Freund HJ. Low Temperature CO Oxidation on Ruthenium Oxide Thin Films at Near-atmospheric Pressures. Catal Lett. 2012:142:657-663. https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s10562-012-0823-3.

  • [6] Over H Kim YD Seitsonen AP Wendt S Lundgren E Schmidt M et al. Atomic-scale structure and catalytic reactivity of the RuO2(110) surface. Science. 2000;287:1474-1476. DOI: 10.1126/science.287.5457.1474.

  • [7] Fan CY Wang J Jacobi K Ertl G. J Chem Phys. 2001;114:10058-10062. DOI: 10.10631.1350817.

  • [8] Reuter K. Scheffler M. Phys Rev B. 2003;68:045407-045411. DOI: DOI: 10.1103/PhysRevB.68.045407.

  • [9] Wang J Fan CY Jacobi K Ertl G. J Phys Chem B. 2002;106:3422-3427.

  • [10] Reuter K Frenkel D Scheffler M. Phys Rev Lett. 2004:93:116105. DOI: 10.1103;PhysRevLett.93.116105.

  • [11] Wang X Jacobi K Schoene WD Ertl G. J Phys Chem B. 2005;109:7883-7893. DOI: 10.1021/jp045735v.

  • [12] Hong S Karim A Rahman TS Jacobi K Ertl G. J Catal. 2010;276:371-381. DOI: 10.1016/j.jcat.2010.09.029.

  • [13] Appl M. Ammonia. Verlag GmbH: Wiley-VCH; 1999.

  • [14] Ertl G. Prigge D. Schlögl R Weiss D. J Catal. 1983;79:359-377. DOI: 10.1016/0021-9517(83)90330-5.

  • [15] Ertl G. Catal Rev Sci Eng. 1980;21:201-223. DOI: 10.1080/03602458008067533.

Journal information
Cited By
All Time Past Year Past 30 Days
Abstract Views 0 0 0
Full Text Views 649 297 15
PDF Downloads 349 170 10