It is the chemistry of synthesizing a series of crucial chemicals and fuels from compounds containing one carbon atom, such as CO, CH4, CH3OH, CO2, etc. The focus is on developing novel heterogeneous catalytic materials for various energy, environment, and healthcare applications. CSIR-NCL also undertakes fundamental surface science studies under in-situ or operando conditions to arrive at molecular-level details of the bond-making and breaking process on a catalyst surface. A strong emphasis on converting the performance of the materials to methods with a pilot plant facility makes the Catalysis division unique. Materials for Hydrogen Generation, Biomass Utilization, Photocatalysis, Surface Science, etc., are some of the areas that are currently being actively pursued.
CSIR-NCL has developed an indigenous process technology to produce DME from methanol dehydration. Dimethyl ether (DME) is a promising fuel that is both sustainable and eco-friendly. The indigenously developed process performs better than the known commercial process at a lab-scale level. The catalyst and process costs are economically comparable with the available procedures. The works aim to realize a competitive industry beyond the traditional chemical industry.