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About Catalysis

Catalysis is a key technology for sustainable development

The importance of catalysis for the world’s economic and sustainable growth cannot be overemphasized. Indeed, catalysis is a pillar of the global industrial technology, with 85 % of all chemical products being produced using at least one catalytic step.


Catalysis and catalytic processes account for nearly 20 % of U.S. GDP. Of the 50 greatest volume chemicals currently produced in the United States, 30 are produced via catalytic routes. In addition, these 50 highest volume processes account for more than 20 billion tons of carbon dioxide emitted to the atmosphere each year; catalysis is crucial to reducing this environmental burden.


Today, in an age of dwindling global energy supplies, catalysis has moved to the front lines of the struggle to obtain new, sustainable technologies for the future. Catalytic technology is intimately intertwined with the new and emerging solutions for our current and future energy sources. A clean and sustainable future will certainly involve discoveries from the field of catalysis, either to improve energy efficiency, enhance and open up new pathways for energy storage, or even mitigate the environmental impact which is all but inevitable in times of technological and industrial progress.

History of the Division

The Catalysis Science and Technology Division (CATL) started out as the Catalysis Secretariat, at a time when ACS secretariats were employed to coordinate multi-disciplinary activities, too broad for any one division within the ACS.


The objective of the former Catalysis Secretariat was to encourage the generation of science and technology of catalysis and surface chemistry, for the benefit of mankind. One of the ways to achieve this goal was to organize forms of multi-divisional participation in discussion of selected topics, dealing with catalysis and surface science. Several divisions were encouraged to present a comprehensive view on catalysis and surface science.


Although the Catalysis Secretariat fulfilled these objectives more than satisfactorily, it was felt necessary to create a separate division, fully dedicated to catalysis in all its aspects. Catalysis has experienced renewed interest and increased activity in recent years, largely but not exclusively due to global concerns about dwindling energy resources, increasing energy consumption and the consequent global warming. Even when one looks beyond the field of energy availability, catalytic technology promises immense potential towards improving both the efficiency of a vast number of processes, and eventually also improving the lives of people around the world.


Thus catalysis indeed warrants its own division, along with the regular topics of discussion at ACS meetings, allowing researchers from around the world to work together towards employing this multi-disciplinary technology towards a better future. 

The Bylaws of the CATL division can be downloaded as a .pdf file here

The logo was made by Ive Hermans and Alyssa Love.

About the American Chemical Society

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