The catalyst discovery phase is the crucial initial stage in developing novel catalysts. Its objective is the identification and design of new substances that efficiently facilitate specific chemical reactions while possessing desirable properties such as high activity, selectivity, stability, and sustainability. The goal is to identify and develop industrially effective catalysts that are also environmentally sustainable and economically viable, aiming to pave the way for further development and commercialization.

What characteristics are tested in the screening phase?

Screening is an essential component in the process of novel substances of interest. Recyclability, or the capacity to recover the molecule of interest once the reaction has finished, is fundamental. The products of the reactions are detached or desorbed from the catalyst, and it is ready for subsequent processes. This is linked to the second characteristic of interest: stability. Ideally, our chemical of interest would be able to maintain its capabilities to accelerate the chemical reactions at the same level as long as possible during its active life, regardless of the number of times it has been regenerated.

Last but not least, it is fundamental that the catalysts are selective, which means they will overwhelmingly catalyze the reaction, avoiding side reactions and by-products as much as possible. Ultimately, catalysis aims to increase the quality of the chemical reaction, increasing the yield and efficiency. These are both related to the amount of the final product. Whereas the efficiency indicates the amount of reactant necessary to generate a unit of product, the yield also accounts for other variables such as time.