Beller: Catalysis is a route to sustainable development on Earth

Mathias Beller, an expert on chemical catalysis and organic/organometallic chemistry from Leibniz Institute for Catalysis, University of Rostock, spoke about the key role of catalysis in sustainable development as part of the latest lecture of Rudofl Zahradník Lecture Series. He explained the principle of catalytic processes and outlined how they can contribute to, e.g. higher quality of life on earth, ensuring sufficient supply of food, garnering cleaner energy, and developing new materials.  

“Catalysis takes place everywhere, all around us. It’s a way to control and make chemical processes faster, making production faster, cheaper, and more environmental friendly. It’s one of the fundamental ways to sustainable development on Earth,” said Prof. Beller, who focuses on catalytic processes, high pressure chemistry, and synthesis of biologically active agents. The major goal of the institute he manages is to transfer research results into industrial practice. “Our institute investigates about 40 projects per year in collaboration with companies from all around the world. I personally focus on, besides industrial applications of catalysis, the synergy of catalytic systems or employment of less precious metals for catalysis,” added Beller.

The highly acclaimed chemist appreciated the work of RCPTM scientists in cooperation with Italian colleagues from the University of Trieste published in the journal Advanced Materials. The paper reports on a unique method that can accelerate diverse chemical reactions, for example, in food, chemical and pharmaceutical industries. “It’s an interesting work that opens avenues. Catalysis is a major issue, arousing worldwide interest,” said Beller, also one of the most highly cited researchers.

His visit to Olomouc and primarily RCPTM will lead to further collaboration, as he disclosed. “In Olomouc, you can develop new materials and we have extensive experience with catalytic applications, which seems to be a very good platform for collaboration,” said Beller.

Prof. Beller has obtained an advanced ERC grant, and been awarded various honorary doctorates and other prizes including a Dr. Karl Wamsler Innovation Award. He is also a highly cited researcher, who repeatedly appears in the Highly Cited Researchers list, with an H-index of 124, and more than 1000 publications, many in the most prestigious journals such as Science, Nature, Nature Chemistry, and Nature Catalysis.’

Rudolf Zahradník Lecture Series is a lecture cycle named after Rudolf Zahradník, a former chairman of the Academy of Sciences of the Czech Republic, pioneer of Czech quantum chemistry, and founder member the Learned Society of the Czech Republic. Since 2013, when it began, the most significant personalities in chemical and materials research have given their talks. The series is presided over by Radek Zbořil, RCPTM General Director.