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Special Issue "Catalysis: Providing Sustainable Solutions to Global Challenges"

A special issue of Molecules (ISSN 1420-3049). This special issue belongs to the section "Green Chemistry".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 1 December 2018

Special Issue Editors

Guest Editor
Prof. Dr. Robert Raja

School of Chemistry, Faculty of Natural and Environmental Sciences, University of Southampton, University Road, Southampton SO17 1BJ, UK
Website | E-Mail
Interests: heterogeneous catalysis; hybrid materials; renewable energy; CO2 utilization; sustainable chemistry; multifunctional asymmetric catalysis; synergistic nanoparticles; solid-acid catalysis
Assistant Guest Editor
Dr. Matthew E. Potter

School of Chemistry, Faculty of Natural and Environmental Sciences, University of Southampton, University Road, Southampton SO17 1BJ, UK
Website | E-Mail
Interests: heterogeneous catalysis; CO2 utilization; CO2 capture; nanoparticle design; synchrotron-based characterization; in situ characterization; solid-acid catalysis
Assistant Guest Editor
Ms. Stephanie Chapman

School of Chemistry, Faculty of Natural and Environmental Sciences, University of Southampton, University Road, Southampton SO17 1BJ, UK
Interests: heterogeneous catalysis; solid-acid catalysts; zeotype framework materials; multifunctional hierarchically-porous architectures; advanced characterization; synchrotron-based spectroscopy; sustainable transformations

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

The growing demands of society are placing an intense strain on our energy resources and environmental sustainability. Cutting-edge research, allied with sustainable industrial practices, can provide a platform for confronting global challenges, thereby affording equitable research solutions for future generations. In addressing some of the major issues relating to climate change, healthcare, nutrition and energy, catalysis has outgrown its traditional boundaries. Beyond simply accelerating chemical processes, recent advances in molecular scale design and operando spectroscopy have seen developments in progressive fields such as photo- and electro-catalysis. The discovery of hybrid catalytic materials has provided stimulus for expanding the horizons of Green Chemistry and Sustainable Technology, conferring a greater impetus in the utilization of renewable feedstocks and in bifunctional and cooperative catalysis. In parallel, advances in atomic scale characterization are offering new mechanistic insights at the molecular level, facilitating the intelligent design of targeted catalysts for the chemical industry. In all, catalysis has earned its place at the forefront of Green Chemistry, harnessing advances in renewable energy generation, biomass transformation, and CO2 storage and utilization, for creating a sustainable world.

This Special Issue of Molecules has been commissioned as a platform for scientists to highlight their advances in the field of Sustainable Catalysis. This unique collection of research articles aims to portfolio innovative, pioneering developments in molecular scale catalyst design and characterization, which will provide a comprehensive overview of advances in the field, affording exclusive insights on sustainability for academics and research students. We therefore invite you to submit a full paper, short communication, or review article to support this Special Issue, "Catalysis: Providing Sustainable Solutions to Global Challenges".

Prof. Dr. Robert Raja
Guest Editor

Dr. Matthew E. Potter
Ms. Stephanie Chapman
Assistant Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Molecules is an international peer-reviewed open access monthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 1800 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.


  • Sustainable Catalytic Solutions
  • Green Chemistry
  • Heterogeneous Catalysis
  • Environmental Sustainability
  • Sustainable Chemicals and Polymers
  • Biomass Transformation and Valorisation
  • Alternative Energy
  • Photocatalysis
  • Renewable Energy
  • Molecular Design
  • CO2 Utilisation and Storage
  • Operando Spectroscopy
  • Ionic Liquids in Catalysis
  • Electrocatalysis
  • Renewable Feedstocks
  • Hybrid Materials and Processes
  • Global Challenges and Sustainability
  • Bifunctional and Cooperative Catalysis
  • Molecular scale characterisation

Published Papers

This special issue is now open for submission, see below for planned papers.

Planned Papers

The below list represents only planned manuscripts. Some of these manuscripts have not been received by the Editorial Office yet. Papers submitted to MDPI journals are subject to peer-review.

Type: Article
Title: Carbon functionalisation as tool for cellulose transformation
Author: Laura Prati
Abstract: The direct cellulose transformation is still representing a big challenge. The paper focuses on the role of different functionalisations introduced on carbon surface in the depolimerisation/dehydration of cellulose. Carbons which differ for surface area, porosity and functionalities have been evaluated under different reaction conditions for testing their activity and selectivity but also resistance to several cycle of uses.


Type: Review
Title: Metal Organic Frameworks in Photocatalysis
Author: Shu-Na Zhao 1, 2, Dirk Poelman 2 and Pascal Van Der Voort 1,*
1   Department of Chemistry, Center for Ordered Materials, Organometallics and Catalysis (COMOC), Ghent University, Krijgslaan 281 (S3), 9000 Gent, Belgium; shuna.zhao@Ugent.be
2   LumiLab, Department of Solid State Sciences, Ghent University, Krijgslaan 281 (S1), 9000 Gent, Belgium; Dirk.Poelman@UGent.be
*   Correspondence: Pascal.VanDerVoort@UGent.be; Tel.: +32-9-264-44-42
Abstract: The increase in environmental problems has prompted the development of alternative and sustainable energy sources. Sunlight represents a very attractive clean energy source for replacing fossil fuels.
Metal-Organic Frameworks have emerged in the last decade as very promising versatile materials, as they are highly porous, crystalline and easily tunable. They are constructed through inorganic nodes (metal ions, metal oxide clusters, …) that are connected by multitopic, rigid organic linkers (e.g. benzene dicarboxylate). They have been successfully used in gas storage, gas separation, sensing, heterogeneous catalysis, luminescence, etc. Currently big companies alongside many small startups are fully exploring the industrial applications of MOFs.
Herein, we discuss the different roles that MOFs can play in photocatalysis, including pollutant abatement, synthetic photocatalytic reactions, photo-electro-catalytic cells, water splitting and CO2 conversion.

Title: Influence of Silicodactyly in the Preparation of Hybrid Materials
Authors: C. Ivaldi, I. Miletto, G. Paul, G.B. Giovenzana, M. Cossi, L. Marchese, E. Gianotti*
Abstract: The organic–inorganic hybrid materials have attracted great attention due to their improved or unusual properties that open promising applications in different areas such as optics, electronics, energy, environment, biology, medicine and heterogeneous catalysis.
Different types of silicodactyls and multipodal platforms, based on different backbones, grafted on silica inorganic supports will be used to synthesize hybrid materials. A careful evaluation of the dactyly and of the type of interaction with the inorganic supports will be presented. In fact, depending on the hydrophilicity of the silica surface (e.g. number and density of surface silanols) as well as on the grafting conditions, the hydrolysis and condensation reaction of the sylilated moieties can involve only one or two out of three alkoxysilane groups. The influence of silicodactyly in the preparation of organic-inorganic silica based hybrids will be studied by 29Si, 1H and 13C solid-state NMR and FTIR spectroscopy, with the support of ab initio calculations. Computational study will be used to forecast the influence of the different grafting configurations on the tendency of the silane to stick on the silica surface. 

Type: Article
Title: Morphology-dependent catalytic activity of Ru/CeO2 in dry reforming of methane
Author: Heyong He
Abstract: Three morphologically controlled CeO2, namely nanorods (NRs), nanocubes (NCs) and nanopolyhedrons (NPs) CeO2 have been used as supports to prepare nanoparticle Ru (3 wt.%) catalysts. The catalysts were characterized by H2-temperature programmed reduction (H2-TPR), N2 adsorption-desorption, X-ray diffraction (XRD), Raman spectroscopy, X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy (XPS) and transmission electron microscopy (TEM). The characterization results show that CeO2-NRs, CeO2-NCs and CeO2-NPs exposes mainly (110) (100) and (111) facets, respectively, and CeO2-NRs and CeO2-NCs present higher oxygen vacancy concentration than CeO2-NPs. In the CO2 reforming of methane reaction, Ru/CeO2-NRs and Ru/CeO2-NCs catalysts showed better catalytic performance than Ru/CeO2-NPs, indicating that the catalysts with more oxygen vacancies concentration are beneficial to promote the catalytic activity.

Type: Review
Title: Recent advances in catalytic conversion of carbon dioxide through C-N bond formation
Authors: Jing-Yuan Li, Qing-Wen Song, Ping Liu, and Kan Zhang
Abstract: Carbon dioxide, “problematic” toward the activities of human beings, is of importance C1 feedstock due to its cheap, abundant and relatively nontoxic. Although it is an ideal carbon source, its chemical transformations have not been widely developed so far and are still far from synthetic applications, especially in the construction of valuable chemicals. This review summarizes the recent advances (2012-2018) in catalytic conversion of CO2 through C-N bond formation and their synthetic application. This review covers typical catalytic transformation of CO2 via amidation to prepare valuable compounds with the improved atom economy and enhanced sustainability of chemical processes.

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