catalysis

Catalysis

Catalysis is core to JM’s work in emissions control, cleaning the air we breathe, and is improving the efficiency and sustainability of vital industrial and pharmaceutical processes.

World leaders

60+ 

years' experience in catalysis

Cleaner air

20 million tonnes

of pollutants stopped by JM’s emission control catalysts each year

We're a world leader in the development and manufacture of catalysts to clean the air we breathe and make industrial processes more efficient and sustainable. We're experts across the full spectrum of catalysts, including heterogeneous catalysts, homogeneous catalysts and biocatalysts, and our customers work in industries ranging from automotive and agrochemicals to petrochemicals and pharmaceuticals.

What is catalysis?

Catalysis is a process of speeding up or enabling a chemical reaction using a substance that does not undergo permanent changes during the reaction. For a reaction to take place, chemical bonds must be broken and new ones formed. This requires energy and the amount needed is called the activation energy. A catalyst lowers this activation energy barrier, so the molecules can react more easily. The catalyst is not used up as part of the reaction, nor does it appear as a contaminant in the product.

There are different forms of catalysts, including homogeneous, heterogeneous and biocatalysts.

 

Catalytic converter and catalyst

Types of catalysis

In homogeneous catalysis, the catalyst and all reacting substances are in the same single phase or state of matter, i.e. gas, liquid or solid. This is most commonly the liquid phase as a solution of catalyst with all the reactants.


We offer a large portfolio of innovative catalysts for a range of pharmaceutical applications including cross-coupling and asymmetric hydrogenation, as well as catalyst precursors for chiral and achiral transformations. In the industrial chemicals arena, we supply homogeneous catalysts for reactions such as hydroformylation in the oxo-alcohol process.

 

In heterogeneous catalysis, the catalyst is in a different phase from the reactants – for example a solid catalyst and a gaseous reactant. This is typical of many catalysts JM manufactures where the catalyst is coated onto a solid support such as a ceramic or carbon. For example our emission control catalysts are coated onto a structured support and catalyse the reactions to remove harmful gases from vehicle exhausts.

Enzyme or biocatalysts are catalysts that come from living organisms such as cells or bacteria. Enzymes in our body are naturally occurring biocatalysts. At JM we use our expertise to identify, develop and manufacture enzyme based catalysis for markets such as active pharmaceutical ingredients (APIs) and fine (high purity) chemicals.


Sustainable offering

 

As well as our emission control catalysts which reduce harmful emissions from combustion engine vehicles, our industrial and pharmaceutical catalysts enable our customer’s processes to run more efficiently, with less energy, supporting the decarbonisation of industry. Our catalyst technologies are also independent of the input (or feedstock) used so our customers can adapt to use more sustainable feedstocks

 

Cost-effective products

 

We have expertise across many different types of catalysis so we can choose the right catalyst for the job from inorganic platinum catalysts to enzyme biocatalysts. To develop a cost-effective process and get more out of the precious metal we use, we look at the distribution of metal across the catalyst surface, the ways the particle are formulated and supported and we investigate methods of improving the durability and performance. We also make sure that any new catalyst we develop can be manufactured at industrial scales and will fit seamlessly into our customers’ existing production processes.

 

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