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Catalysis Looks to the Future
should be a goal for the 1990s. Recognizing the need for federal agencies to maintain flexibility and to encourage creative scientists who propose to explore new directions and ideas, the panel recommends that priority be given to the following five areas:
Synthesis of new catalytic materials and understanding of the relationships between synthesis and catalyst activity, selectivity, and durability.
Development of in situ methods for characterizing the composition and structure of catalysts, and structure-function relationships for catalysts and catalytic processes of existing, and potential, industrial interest.
Development and application of theoretical methods for predicting the structure and stability of catalysts, as well as the energetics and dynamics of elementary processes occurring during catalysis, and use of this information for the design of novel catalytic cycles and catalytic materials and structures.
Investigation of novel catalytic approaches for the production of chemicals and fuels in an environmentally benign fashion, the production of fuels from non-petroleum sources, the catalytic abatement of toxic emissions, and the selective synthesis of enantiomerically pure products.
Provision of the instrumentation, computational resources, and infrastructure needed to ensure the cost-effectiveness of the entire research portfolio.
This report is intended to identify the research opportunities and challenges for catalysis in the coming decades, to document the achievements and impacts of catalytic technologies—past and still to come, and to detail the resources needed to ensure the continued progress that will enable the United States to remain a world leader in the provision of new catalytic technologies. Chapter 1 provides an introduction to the science and technology of catalysts. Chapter 2 discusses the opportunities for developing new catalysts to meet the demands of the chemical and fuel industries, and the increasing role of catalytic technology in environmental protection. The intellectual challenges for advancing the frontiers of catalytic science are outlined in Chapter 3. The human and institutional resources available in the United States for carrying out research on catalysis are summarized in Chapter 4. The panel's findings and recommendations for industry, academe, the national laboratories, and the federal government are presented in fuller detail in Chapter 5.