Catalysis for Sustainable Development
Catalysis plays a key role in chemical industry. More than 90% of all chemical reactions use catalysts. It is projected that the world demand for catalysts may grow by 4.8% per year, to a value of about US$ 20.6 billion in 2018. This growth will be primarily led by polymer and chemical industries. Additionally, it is speculated that the majority of the share of this growth would occur from developing areas such as the Asia/Pacific and Africa/Mideast regions. Raw material availability is one of the issues the chemical industry is facing. While most of our energy and chemical needs are derived from non-renewable fossil feedstocks (petroleum, natural gas and coal), time has come to switch the chemical processing from the conventional to the non-conventional, renewable feedstocks. There is a great challenge to tune the catalysts for such transformations. My talk addresses catalytic conversion of biomass and carbon dioxide into fuels and chemicals. India has a surplus amount of inedible biomass and at the same time bound to follow the COP-21 resolution for reduction in carbon emissions. Utilization of biomass and CO2 would perhaps lead to low carbon footprint. The influence of catalyst hydrophobicity in biomass transformations and acid/base bi-functionality in CO2 conversions would be discussed.