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Industrial Catalysis.

Industrial Catalysis by Jens Hagen Wiley-VCH Verlag GmbH & Co. KGaA. Weinheim, Germany (2005). 507 pages.

Jens Hagen has a background in both chemical engineering and chemistry, and a distinguished academic career in applied catalysis. This book reflects both his breadth of knowledge and his ability to use that knowledge.

The book is structured appropriately for an intense overview course on catalysts and catalytic processes. The individual components form the bases for sequential lectures developing the several themes. However, if the scope of the whole book is to be covered in two semesters, the intensity would be very high! Each subject area is covered in about one-tenth to one-third of the space that would be used in a monograph. Consequently each topic is presented briefly, rapidly and intensely, which makes for hard reading.

Homogeneous catalysis and biocatalysis are both covered in less than 100 pages. There follows a section of similar length describing fundamentals of heterogeneous catalysis, leading into sections on catalyst shapes and shape-selective catalysis. Disappointingly, individual industrial catalytic processes then are described only briefly. However, some relationships of catalysts to processes are also presented as examples during the descriptions of catalysts in other sections. This approach seems to me to be contrary to the impression given by the book title, which suggests that the processes would be the foci.

The emerging fields of electrocatalysis, photocatalysis and phase transfer catalysis are overviewed in compact and clear sections of 20, 8 and 7 pages, respectively. Environmental aspects of catalysis also are covered very briefly: 7 pages on remediation and only 4 pages on development of "green" processes to reduce emissions. The approaches and methods for testing catalysts, including statistical design and modelling, are covered in slightly more than 50 pages, and reactors are presented in about 20 pages.

The economic importance of catalytic processes to the economies of developed nations, and the lasting importance of catalysis for the environment are presented in a chapter of only 4 pages! The author then briefly indicates some immediate future developments for catalysts and processes.

The text is translated from German. There are a few typos and slips. Some reasoning will be difficult for neophytes to follow, as bald statements are made rather than complete arguments in order to keep the length down.

In summary, the book will be a valuable resource for someone preparing a course on catalysis, but they may choose to flesh out the topics to be presented, and could be useful to students having a mentor in the field. However, the high cost of the book makes it inappropriate for teaching undergraduates, and the brevity with which each topic is presented makes them insufficient for use as a core text for those seeking a deep and wide discussion of specific aspects of catalysis.

Alan R. Sanger

Alvesan Enterprises Inc. and University of Alberta
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Author:Sanger, Alan R.
Publication:Canadian Journal of Chemical Engineering
Article Type:Book review
Date:Oct 1, 2006
Words:472
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