Book takes look at designing catalysts

A new book edited by Morris Bullock of Pacific Northwest National Laboratory in Richland summarizes the progress and challenges of designing catalysts from less expensive, more abundant metals.

Rare and expensive, precious metals such as platinum, rhodium and palladium are used extensively as catalysts on a large scale in preparing pharmaceutical and agricultural chemicals, as well as for applications in energy sciences. For example, platinum catalysts effectively break the H-H bond of hydrogen in clean, efficient fuel cells. However, the need for platinum limits fuel cells from contributing as effectively to the global energy solution.

The handbook, Catalysis without Precious Metals, is written for chemists in industry and academia. The 306-page hardcover book summarizes recent progress in the field, pointing to how new catalysts might ultimately supplant precious metals in some types of reactions. Also, the book goes on to highlight the remaining chemical challenges and areas in need of further study. The book was written by experts from the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom and China.

Bullock was asked to edit because of his expertise in homogeneous catalysis, which has both the feedstock and catalyst in the same phase, according to a news release from PNNL.

Bullock's research focuses on reactivity of metal hydrides, including the transfer of protons, hydrides, and hydrogen atoms. He also has made substantial contributions to developing molecular catalysts that create and use hydrogen as fuel. Bullock serves as the director of the multimillion dollar Center for Molecular Electrocatalysis.

Bullock is the director of the Center for Molecular Electrocatalysis, an Energy Frontier Research Center. He is a laboratory fellow, and he is located in the Catalysis Sciences Group in the Chemical and Materials Sciences Division at Pacific Northwest National Laboratory.