Chemical Reactions

Catalysis and Industrial Chemistry

What are some industrial processes that make use of catalysts?

The chemical industry uses catalysts in a staggering array of chemical reactions that make products that we all use every day. The production of ammonia (NH3) from nitrogen (N2) and hydrogen (H2), known as the Haber-Bosch process, uses iron or ruthenium catalysts; this reaction is used to generate about five hundred million tons of fertilizer per year! Most of the world’s plastic is made by one form of catalysis or another, and the refining of crude oil into gasoline and other fuels is also possible because of catalysts. Catalysts are also used in food processing and production—margarine is made by reacting fats with hydrogen gas in the presence of a nickel catalyst.


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