Gold, long regarded as poorly active catalyst, has become a subject of appreciable research for the last two decades. It has been demonstrated that gold-based catalysts, when prepared in an appropriate manner, are highly active and selective in oxidation, hydrochlorination, desulphurization and hydrogenation reactions, often at lower temperatures than existing commercial catalysts. Innovative recent research has also suggested that these materials could be effectively employed in hydrogen fuel processing reactions for fuel cell applications. Gold in a highly dispersed state can exceptionally catalyze water–gas shift and preferential CO oxidation reactions. Several factors control the activity and the selectivity of gold catalysts and can affect their efficiency in environmental catalytic processes. This book presents some recent advances in environmental catalysis over gold-based materials, featuring prominent authors, all experts in their respective fields. A general introduction to the field of environmental catalysis using supported gold and gold bimetallic alloy nanoparticles and the possibility of using sustainable feedstocks for the generation of chemicals are described in Chapter 1. Recent advances in the synthesis and physicochemical properties of gold-based materials are thoroughly summarized in Chapter 2, while Chapter 3 highlights the spectroscopic studies with respect to the nature of active gold species in several reactions, such as CO oxidation, water–gas shift and methanol reforming. Chapter 4 reviews most recent reports on preferential CO oxidation reaction over gold catalysts and highlights the key factors that control the activity/selectivity of these catalytic systems. A series of studies which have recently appeared in the literature investigating desulfurization reactions on novel gold–metal carbide catalysts are reviewed in Chapter 5, while Chapter 6 covers essential aspects regarding the physicochemical properties of gold, its interactions with hydrogen to dissociate this molecule and to perform selective hydrogenation reactions. Current applications and future commercial opportunities are discussed in the last chapter (Chapter 7).
We thank all of the lead authors (G. J. Hutchings, C. Louis, F. Boccuzzi, J. A. Rodriguez, A. Corma and T. Keel) as well as their co-authors for their contribution and fruitful collaboration in the preparation of this book. We gratefully acknowledge the creativity and skills of M. Manzoli for designing the cover page. We hope that this book will be useful for readers and will stimulate new applications of gold-based materials. It can serve as a reference for researchers whose interest is attracted by the unusual catalytic properties of nanosized gold.