PerspectiveCATALYSIS

Beyond trial and error for zeolite catalysts

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Science  10 Mar 2017:
Vol. 355, Issue 6329, pp. 1028
DOI: 10.1126/science.aam8037

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Summary

Zeolites are crystalline aluminosilicates with a regular network of molecular-scale channels and/or cages (0.3 to 2.0 nm). They are widely used as heterogeneous catalysts in oil refining and the petrochemical and chemical industries (1, 2). Typically, the most suitable zeolite catalyst for a given reaction is found by trial and error, requiring time-consuming experiments and expensive screening of many potential candidates. On page 1051 of this issue, Gallego et al. (3) show that by designing zeolites that mimic reaction transition states, expensive trial-and-error searches can be avoided.