A catalyst is a substance that increases the rate of chemical reaction without itself undergoing a chemical change. Catalysts are relied heavily upon in the development of clean technologies, as they are central in enabling new, more energy efficient and environmentally friendly pathways to existing chemical products. For example, catalytic processes have been developed to produce hydrogen that has less of an environmental impact compared to conventional steam methane reforming (SMR). Biological catalysts are sometimes exploited in cleantech processes, such as in the production of polylactic acid (PLA). Catalysts are also central to fuel cells, and other technologies associated with the cleantech sector.
The development of novel catalysts is a significant undertaking, given the breadth of scientific knowledge required. In addition to the basic chemistry, a firm grasp of mass transport and reaction engineering is required. Development and testing of these catalysts requires a well-equipped testing facility, with complementary analytical capabilities. Coanda has invested in this infrastructure and has been active in supporting the catalysts development efforts of innovators.