Welcome to the Department of Surface Chemistry and Catalysis

General aim:

Finding the relationship between catalyst structure and catalytic properties in a given reaction, manipulation of surface reactivity, development of highly efficient nanostructured composite catalysts.

Research topics:

  • Green chemistry
  • Model catalyst: study on gold nanoparticles on oxide and inverse oxide catalysts
  • Activation of C1 molecules: structure-reactivity relationship on mono and bimetallic catalysts, methane dry reforming, CO oxidation and PROX
  • Selective hydrogenations, asymmetric heterogeneous catalytic hydrogenations
  • Environmental catalysis
  • Investigation of catalytic processes for environmental protection
  • Wet oxidation of industrial process wastewaters with catalysts and high energy radiation
  • Catalytic researches for alternative energy production, catalytic materials of fuel cell electrodes


The activity of Department of Surface Chemistry and Catalysis has developed from the application of radioactive tracers in catalysis, the main research topic for decades was the investigation of catalytic conversion of hydrocarbons on various catalyst samples primarily unsupported metal catalysts, later supported bimetallic species and finally using transition metal cluster samples. This research was recognized by the Hungarian State Prize in 1983. The international acknowledgement of the catalytic research is characterized by the fact, that the 10th International Congress on Catalysis was organized in 1992, in Budapest by our Institut for which the Republic Order, Officer Cross award was granted in 1993.

Environmental catalysis started in 1990 by studying deNOx reaction as well as the eliminination of volatile organic compounds. As a continuation presently green chemistry is planned to develop along with environmental catalysis. One of the most important research topics is Au catalysis, which means the preparation, characterization and application in selective reactions of the nanostructured gold catalysts. A novel, common research topic with the Radiation Chemistry Department is the combination of catalytic and high energy radiation induced reactions for the purification of process wastewaters. The department continues the study of catalytic processes which belong the alternative energy area, such as CO removal by PROX, methane dry reforming which are part of the European research program. The application of tracer compounds in catalytic investigation further is our unique technique in Hungary.

We have several international co-operations in the field of catalysis. For example together with the researchers of Fritz-Haber Institute, it could be pointed out with in situ PGAA measurements combined with a catalytic reactor that during hydrogenation reaction the amount of dissolved hydrogen in Pd and together the selectivity changed also (published in Science). Consorcium on methane dry reforming has been established with French and Irish scientifique establishments.