Discovery and Development of a Catalyst
Haber won the Nobel Prize
for chemistry in 1918 for his contribution to the development
80% of the ammonia manufactured
is used to make fertiliser.
production: 1.3 million tonnes
World annual production: 140 million tonnes
Haber and Bosch tested some 20,000 candidate
catalysts. Today we use similar methodology but with automated
methods and high throughput screening. Eventually they found an
iron ore from Sweden that worked well. It happened to contain
traces of alumina and alkali metal compounds.
The synthesis of ammonia is one of
the most studied and best-understood surface catalysed reactions.
Modern catalysts are not much different from Haber's original
|Modern catalytic technology was born in Germany
early this century with the development of the Haber process for
the synthesis of ammonia, a process contributing to the ability
of the human population to feed itself.