On the Realties of Base Metal Catalysis: An Overview

01 November 2022, Version 1
This content is a preprint and has not undergone peer review at the time of posting.


This perspective invites conversation concerning base metal catalysis as a green and sustainable solution in industrial and academic contexts. We explore what it means to be ‘sustainable’ and provide information on current efforts in synthetic chemistry. We establish a definition of a base metal and reflect on what considerations might apply to that definition. Throughout, we offer recent case studies, highlighting topics relevant to ligand development, metal sourcing, recyclability, and comparative reactivity using precious metal relatives. We challenge non-specialist readers to consider how, where, and why base metal catalysts are utilized. Finally, we offer social context, asking broad questions relevant to social acceptability. For example, decisions related to catalyst development are often driven by factors including costliness, safety, social adoptability, and performance. How can we move base metal catalysis to the forefront? Does society really care if materials are fabricated from nickel instead of palladium or platinum? How can our community guide this knowledge translation? Is this a job for us alone?


Base metal
Ligand design


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