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Heterogeneous catalysis is a cornerstone in the global energy paradigm with practically all energy-related process relying on a catalyst at a certain point. Traditional processes using fossil fuels and new sustainable processes based on green alternatives depend on carefully designed catalytic materials to deliver an energy vector or to achieve the transformation of such an energy vector on a particular source of energy (i.e. electrical, chemical, etc.).

The central role played by heterogeneous catalysis in traditional and modern energy applications constitutes the genesis of this book. The spirit of this work is to illustrate the progress on heterogeneous catalysis for energy-related applications. This constitutes a hot topic with an increasing number of publications in the open literature and also an increasing effort in terms of funding for catalysis-related projects worldwide. Catalytic reactions constitute the heart of most chemical processes and the application of heterogeneous catalysts will be of paramount importance in achieving the transition to low-carbon, sustainable societies.

This book provides an overview of the design, limitations and challenges of heterogeneous catalysts for energy applications. In an attempt to cover a broad range of scenarios, the book considers traditional processes linked to fossil fuels such as reforming, Fischer–Tropsch and hydrocracking, but it also deals with catalysis for sustainable energy applications such as hydrogen production, photocatalysis, biomass upgrading, biorefineries and conversion of CO2 to clean fuels. Novel approaches in catalyst design are addressed, including microchannel reactors and structured catalysts, ionic liquids and the catalytic aspects of fuel cells.

The editors of this book have been working on catalysis for energy and environmental applications for more than 10 and 35 years, respectively. At this point of their careers, they have a panoramic perspective of the trends in catalysis, the knowledge gaps and the challenges to be tackled in the near future. We are committed to excellence in academic research and scientific education and we are convinced that we should maintain heterogeneous catalysis at the forefront of the chemical sciences to foster economic prosperity and pursue a more sustainable world.

Overall, this book is an essential toolkit and a relevant contribution to the fascinating area of catalysis. Since catalysis is an interdisciplinary science per se, the book is appealing for chemists, physicists, chemical engineers and industrialists working on energy. This multidisciplinary approach makes the book a unique piece of work that was conceived to ignite inspiration among the scientific community in order to address our current global challenges by applying catalytic solutions. The international relevance of this work is also reflected in the multiple nationalities and affiliations within the book chapters’ contributors. These include Spain, the UK, Mexico, China, France, Russia, the USA, Colombia, Romania and Italy. The editors would like to express their sincere gratitude to all of the authors for their outstanding contributions. Personally, it has been a pleasure to work with all of them during this journey.

In addition, the editors would like to express their special acknowledgement of Professor Roberto Rinaldi (Imperial College London) who, in his role of Royal Society of Chemistry series editor, encouraged us to take this project forward. Roberto has always been an excellent academic reference and a source of inspiration. We would also like to extend our gratitude to the Royal Society of Chemistry team who have provided wonderful support at every step of the book’s production – Connor Sheppard, Robin Driscoll and Sylvia Pegg.

We hope the readers enjoy this inspiring book, which we have edited with great excitement. Progress in catalysis science and energy applications seems to share a common destiny that brings hope for a greener future using renewable sources for clean energy and chemicals production. We invite the readers to reflect on this matter and navigate through the book while sharing our passion for applied catalysis.

Tomas R. Reina

Jose A. Odriozola

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