Servicio de Información Comunitario sobre Investigación y Desarrollo - CORDIS

Final Activity Report Summary - REVCAT (Evolutionary Catalysis)

Catalysis, a means to speed-up chemical reactions, is of utmost importance for society and industry as it provides tools to make molecules in an economical manner with the least amount of by-product formation. Catalysis therefore plays a central role in creating a sustainable society. In the REVCAT project the consortium has explored new strategies to find catalysts for industrially relevant processes that are based on the principles of evolution. Whereas in nature the fittest wins in the struggle for life, the consortium also developed strategies based on selection of the least stable intermediates, survival of the weakest if you like, enabling the identification of the fastest catalyst from a mixture of species.

Catalyst finding and optimisation strategies have been applied that go through loops of selection and adaption, in analogy to evolutionary processes. By doing so various new catalysts were uncovered, including cheap iron based catalysts for hydrogenation, organocatalysts for asymmetric C-C bond formation, rhodium catalysts for asymmetric hydrogenation and hydroformylation. In addition, in analogy to natural systems, catalyst systems have been developed in which two catalysts work in harmony to enforce selective transformations.

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