Read about the UK’s catalyst market and the vital role catalysis innovation has in providing disruptive changes to the UK’s chemicals and pharmaceutical industries.

We need catalysts

Our work at KTN reinforces that catalysis is a key enabling technology for many of the chemical processes that we use today, and it will also be critical for a lot of the processes that we will need in the future.

The UK’s $433m catalyst market enables an estimated $188bn of revenue in downstream sectors (figures in the report are given in $ to enable international comparisons), and through accelerated innovation we have an opportunity to increase the UK’s domestic catalyst market share and to increase exports to meet global demand. Whether we are trying to achieve clean growth in industrial decarbonisation, or improve our air and water quality, or develop the next generation of fuels and batteries, or manufacture new pharmaceuticals to achieve healthy ageing.  In all cases, we will need innovation in catalysis.

Furthermore, to achieve the UK’s targets in net zero by 2050, we need to accelerate innovation in enabling technologies such as catalysis. Catalysts will be crucial for many of the chemical pathways needed to reach our net zero goals.

KTN’s Report Highlights Opportunities for UK Catalysis Market and Innovation Community

KTN has undertaken a body of work looking at the UK catalysis opportunities and the role of innovation. It has been sponsored by Innovate UK and incorporates the findings from the Innovate UK/KTN ‘UK Catalysis Special Interest Group’ and an Innovate UK/KTN commissioned independent Catalysis Market Study by Enabled Future Ltd. We have worked collaboratively with our community of UK academics, industrialists, and RTOs through interviews, workshops, and visits to centres of excellence. Our ultimate aim has been to evaluate the need to accelerate catalysis innovation.

“The opportunities for catalysis innovation have been well understood by the experts in this field, and our work at KTN has been an exciting exploration into understanding the art of the possible. This coupled with knowledge of the UK catalyst market has provided us with a great chance to bring together different parts of our community and supply chains to evaluate how catalysts will support us in meeting our future needs.” Michael Burnett, KTM Process Manufacturing

Within our report we have compiled an overview of where there are opportunities for UK catalysis and made recommendations for future intervention. This includes the areas of clean growth, ageing society, and the future mobility. Under clean growth we discuss the opportunities in:

  • Hydrogen
  • Clean air
  • CO2 Utilisation
  • Water treatment
  • Utilisation of biomass
  • Polymers and rubbers
  • Waste to chemicals and fuels

In the area of healthy ageing we focus on pharmaceutical manufacturing, covering:

  • Continuous and pseudo-continuous manufacturing of pharmaceuticals
  • Combined chemo and biocatalysis
  • Catalysts for new pharmaceutical chemistries
  • Techniques for faster development cycles

Catalysts are one part of a complete system that needs to be properly designed and engineered. However, the importance of catalysis is clear, especially when evaluating the opportunities for achieving sustainability, net zero, market growth, manufacturing competitiveness and resilience.

To find out more and to read about our conclusions on UK catalysis innovation, the UK market opportunity, and our recommendations to accelerate innovation, read our KTN report here.

What’s next?

Watch out for our follow-up article and associated report on UK Catalysis and Net Zero prepared for Innovate UK and KTN by Enabled Future Ltd. This work strongly aligns with the KTN Chemistry & Industrial Biotechnology team’s work on accelerating net zero for chemical manufacturing.

Please note: The supporting KTN Catalysis Market Study Summary Report prepared by Enabled Future Ltd is available for download here.

Would you like to know more about our work on catalysis? Get in touch with our KTN expert in Process Manufacturing, Michael Burnett, to discuss further and learn how KTN can help you.

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