Catalysis is used everywhere. New catalysts are needed urgently, especially in the production of sustainable fuels. As such, speeding up the discovery of catalysts is imperative for these processes. But what makes a material a good catalyst?
In their Editorial in Angewandte Chemie, Jens K. Nørskov and Thomas Bligaard discuss the catalyst genome, which is, in theory, a set of data that links all possible catalyst structures, elementary reactions, and reaction conditions. However, this would be difficult to achieve in practice. Thus, Nørskov and Bligaard suggest that the catalyst genome is most likely to be a database of calculated properties and key experimental data, as well as a collection of relevant concepts, analysis tools, search methods, and learning algorithms.
They also argue that there needs to be interactions between different research groups and methodologies in order for the approach to be successful.