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In the first chapter, S. R. Kanitkar, B. Dutta, Md. A. Abedin, X. Bai, and D. J. Haynes (National Energy Technology Laboratory, USA) provide an overview of recent progress that covers various catalyst coating methods, application of 3D printing in catalytic supports and reactor components, and process intensification through additive manufacturing. The chapter also provides a brief overview on artificial intelligence/machine learning in heterogeneous catalysis that is helping to make/screen catalysts more efficiently. The chapter further highlights the impacts and challenges of implementing advanced manufacturing methods.

In the second chapter, G. Li and D. E. Resasco (University of Oklahoma, USA) describe recent developments in the synthesis and characteristics of bio-inspired functionalization of nanostructured materials with hydrophilic/hydrophobic properties for catalytic applications. The authors’ aim was to explore the potential for designing catalysts that mimic the structure and function of enzymes, while incorporating the benefits of nanostructured materials. This review covers the current state of the art in this field, including the methods used for fabricating these materials and the effects of hydrophilic/hydrophobic balance on their catalytic performance.

In the third chapter, W. T. Broomhead and Y.-H. (Cathy) Chin (University of Toronto, Canada) examine the oxidation reactions of alcohols and alkanes on transition metal or metal oxide surfaces. The chapter begins with an exploration on the thermodynamics of a bulk metal–O2 system and its application as a first approximation on the oxide phase and oxygen storage capacity, as well as the driving force in oxide redox reactions, the latter being graphically captured in an Ellingham diagram. Through case studies, the chapter explores the general mechanistic trends, especially how the thermochemical properties of the reactive oxygen atoms, either as chemisorbed oxygen or lattice oxygen, mediate the catalytic conversion of alcohols and alkanes, through altering the active site structures and/or the character and activation free energy of the kinetically relevant C–H bond scission transition states.

In the fourth chapter, J.-T. Han, L. Tan, H. Su, and C.-J. Li (McGill University, Canada) review the recent progress and critical breakthrough of GaN-based catalysis in synthesis with a focus on mechanistic understanding. The reactions are categorized as water splitting, direct methane activation, direct methanol activation, organic synthesis, carbon dioxide reduction, and nitrogen gas reduction. Lastly, the challenges and future possible improvement of GaN-based catalysis are discussed to encourage more interdisciplinary advances in the development of novel catalysts for sustainable chemical transformations.

In the fifth chapter, T. Y. Pan (University of Maryland, USA and Zhuhai Chenyu New Materials Technology Co. Ltd, China), A. Bhowmick, D. Liu (University of Delaware, USA), L. Liu, and C. Zhang (University of Maryland, USA) provide a summary of past research and ongoing developments in Propane Dehydrogenation (PDH) reactions in membrane reactors. The content covers the membrane material, catalyst, reactor configuration, and performance for PDH in membrane reactors. Furthermore, the challenges and strategies to mitigate reactor performance decline during PDH are presented, along with future research and development directions to advance this technology for on-purpose propene production.

In the sixth chapter, D. Allouss, I. E. Achouri, and N. Abatzoglou (Université de Sherbrooke, Canada) summarize the recent progress in catalytically upgrading pyrolysis bio-oils to biofuels and chemicals. The first part of this chapter is on the pyrolysis process itself; it focuses on fast pyrolysis and the resulting bio-oil due to the consensus about this technology’s superiority. The second part of this chapter provides an overview of the bio-oil upgrading routes. A comprehensive collection of the results on the type of catalysts used in such processes and their relevant functions are provided. Finally, this chapter closes with a discussion of the challenges and limitations of the bio-oil upgrading processes.

In the seventh chapter, A. L. M. Kognou, J. R. Khatiwada, S. Shrestha, C. Chio, Z.-H. Jiang, W. Qin (Lakehead University, Canada), and C. C. Xu (Western University, Canada) discuss advances in approaches and engineered microorganism utilization for valorizing lignocellulose waste, along with possible opportunities in the bioeconomy. The authors review the main strategies used in the microbial processing of lignocellulosic biomass for biotechnological applications. These strategies have been developed based on our increasing knowledge about metabolic pathways, gene expression regulatory mechanisms, nutritional regulation, genetic manipulations, nanotechnology and engineered synthetic consortia associated with various microorganisms.

In the eighth chapter, Z. G. Neale, J. W. Long, D. R. Rolison, C. N. Chervin, L. J. Bird, R. H. DeBlock, and T. G. Novak (U.S. Naval Research Laboratory, USA) give an overview of electro-Fenton systems, discussing such characteristics as materials and electrode design for H2O2 generation, Fenton catalysis, and anodic oxidation. Photo- and bio-electro-Fenton systems are introduced, and design influences of electro-Fenton flow reactors are considered. In this chapter, the authors also provide their perspective on the state of research on heterogeneous electro-Fenton systems and discuss the need for more standardization in determining pollutant-degradation performance from lab scale to practical electro-Fenton applications.

James Spivey

Yi-Fan Han

Dushyant Shekhawat

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