Gadi Rothenberg


Concepts and Green Applications

Second, revised and enlarged edition

Wiley Logo


Gadi Rothenberg
University of Amsterdam
Van’t Hoff Institute for Molecular Sciences
Science Park 904
1090 XH Amsterdam


Cover picture by Itamar Daube,

I never write metropolis for seven cents, because I can get the same price for city.

Mark Twain


This textbook covers the basics of catalysis from a ‘green chemistry’ perspective. Its main message is that heterogeneous catalysis, homogeneous catalysis and biocatalysis are all one discipline, so you need to understand only once how catalysis works. Chapters 1 and 2 introduce and explain the fundamentals of sustainable chemistry, catalysis, and reaction kinetics. Chapters 3–5 show how these principles are applied in homogeneous, heterogeneous, and biocatalysis. The final chapter covers computer applications in catalysis research, including predictive modelling and data mining.

The book is aimed at senior undergraduate students as well as graduate researchers in chemistry and chemical engineering. Each chapter includes detailed literature references, as well as industrial examples and exercises that embed the knowledge in a practical context. I cite reviews and books when introducing a subject, and articles when discussing specific examples. Chapter 1 also contains a ‘Further Reading’ list of recommended books on specialised subjects. To help you master the catalysis jargon, key terms are printed in bold and defined when they first appear in the text. They are also included in the index.

This second edition is updated with the latest developments in catalysis research. I also added 50 new exercises, following the requests and suggestions of many readers. The free-access website accompanying this book,, has additional teaching material (lecture slides, hand-outs, and answers to selected exercises) that you’re welcome to download and use.

I thank my wife Live for her patience and support, and my colleagues Francesco Mutti and Gooitzen Zwanenburg for their insightful comments. Thanks also to Itamar Daube, who drew the cover picture, and to the Wiley-VCH editors Gudrun Walter, Elke Maase and Jacqueline Terre. Finally, thanks to all those readers of the first edition who sent in suggestions for improvement. Such emails are always welcome.

As you will see, catalysis is one of the most exciting and fun subjects in chemistry. Hopefully you will share some of my enthusiasm and fascination after reading this book.

Amsterdam, April 2017

Gadi Rothenberg