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Gold has been shown to have potential advantages as a catalyst in a wide variety of chemical reactions, and hydrogenation is positioned as one important catalytic application of this metal. Indeed, hydrogenation is an important reaction in many areas of the chemical and petrochemical industries, where a continuous effort in searching for new catalysts and/or materials that efficiently adsorb and dissociate hydrogen is ever present.

Owing to the importance of the element, this chapter will cover essential aspects regarding the physico‐chemical properties of gold, its interactions with hydrogen, reactivity for the hydrogen H–D exchange, and in general, for selective hydrogenation reactions.

When appropriate, the chemical composition as well as the preparation of the catalyst will be specifically highlighted, because the catalytic activity appears to depend strongly on the method of synthesis of the catalyst, the nature of the support, the size of the gold particles and the thermal story of the catalyst.

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