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Catalysis with Green Technologies 

This module is concerned with understanding the importance of catalysis and also how this can be used as a tool for green chemistry. The module begins with introductory lectures on catalysis and green technologies, illustrating the very wide range of interesting and important applications of catalysis.  

Heterogeneous catalysis is of considerable importance to the chemical industry and this subject is discussed by a consideration of surface chemistry, modern techniques for studying surfaces and by the study of important organic and inorganic solid catalysts including the rapidly growing area of shape-selective catalysis.

Homogeneous catalysis is also an extremely important subject both in synthesis and industrial chemistry and this subject will be covered in a series of lectures on important metal-catalysed processes.  The important and growing areas of catalysis such as enzymatic and asymmetric catalysis will be explored for a range of important chemical reactions.

Case studies based on important catalytic processes will be used throughout the module and lectures will be supported by workshops.

Learning objectives

  • To understand the importance of catalysis and it application in green chemistry 
  • To understand how catalysis can occur heterogeneously and homogeneously 
  • To understand the importance and mechanism of enzymatic and asymmetric catalysis
  • To study the use of a range of catalytic processes with the aim of reducing the environmental impact of chemical manufacture 
  • To study applications of catalysts especially in environmental related areas 
  • Develop in-depth knowledge of catalytic processes and their relevance to industry
  • Train students on the use and application of heterogeneous, homogeneous, asymmetric and enzymatic catalysts
  • Develop an understanding of how sustainable catalytic processes are relevant to green chemistry
  • Develop aspects of teamwork and transferable skills in students


General overview of catalysis

Brief revision of Catalysis including aspects of acid-base catalysis, homogeneous and heterogeneous catalysis. This will provide an introduction to the module and set the scene for detailed discussions throughout the course.    

Catalysis for green chemistry

  • Heterogeneous Catalysis. Chemistry at catalyst surfaces.Techniques for studying catalysts and catalytic processes.Zeolites and other porous solids Shape selective catalysis.
  • Homogeneous Catalysis by Transition Metal Compounds. Important metal-catalysed processes. Mechanistic aspects of Homogeneous Catalysis by Transition Metal.
  • Asymmetric catalysis. Requirements for asymmetric catalysis and commercial examples. Survey of important metal catalysed asymmetric reactions. Asymmetric organocatalysis.
  • Enzymatic catalysis. Biocatalysis for applications in organic chemistry/pharmaceutical industry. This will include aspects on general Introduction to enzymatic catalysis, hydrolytic reactions, reductions, oxygenations and carbon-carbon bond formation.

Sustainable catalysis topics

  • Catalysis with sustainable metals. Replacing scarce metals with Earth crust abundant ones. Catalyst recycling (catalytic converters). Phytomining for catalysts.
  • Green catalytic technologies. Catalysis for biomass valorisation. Combining catalysis with green chemical technologies.


Chemistry Core Modules 1-4

photo of student working in green chemistry

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