Chemocatalysis or biocatalysis? Continuous or batch?
Questions affecting the manufacture
and use of catalysts today


Evonik Nutrition & Care GmbH
Rodenbacher Chaussee 4, 63457 Hanau-Wolfgang, Germany


Companies active in the manufacture and application of chemocatalysts and biocatalysts were interviewed on key topics in the area, including the choice of catalysts and the choice of continuous or batch process. The preference depends on the level of development of the process, the engineering requirements, and a cost-benefit analysis for the whole process


Biocatalysis and chemocatalysis (using both metal-based catalysts and organocatalysts) are widely used today in the fine chemical, pharmaceutical and agrochemical industries. Many of these catalytic processes have traditionally been performed in batch mode, but today more continuous processes are being developed and applied at production scale. We asked several leading practitioners in the area of catalysis about the factors affecting the choice of catalytic process (metal-catalysed, organocatalytic or biocatalytic) and when continuous processes are preferred over batch.


In addition, the increasing regulatory requirements for low residual metals in pharmaceuticals are another factor affecting the choice of metal-containing catalytic processes. Finally, the increasing efficiency of homogeneous catalysts can mean that the cost of the catalyst per batch can become a very small fraction of the total process costs including other reagents, work-up and isolation of the product. This could have an effect on the economics of catalyst manufacture and use.


We received replies from several manufacturers and ...