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Catalysts speed up the rate of reaction and remain chemically unchanged or being used up in the process, and are widely used in industry. Enzymes are biological catalysts made up of proteins, and can be used a lot in industry since they operate best close to room temperature and pressure which can be maintained in industrial processes. Catalysts will speed up rate of reaction and can also be used to change properties of a product to increase it’s usefulness – it can turn light, bendy poly(ethene) into a more dense and less flexible material with a higher melting point.

An example of an enzyme used as a catalyst is during the production of ethanol. Ethanol is the alcohol people drink and is also used as a fuel, solvents and as a feedstock for other processes. Fermentation uses the enzyme zymase which is an enzyme used in fermentation of the breakdown of sugar into ethanol and carbon dioxide. Zymase is naturally occurring tin yeast when making alcohol as it breaks down sugars into ethanol with carbon dioxide as a by-product:

This is efficient under controlled conditions such as temperature (30˚C). Although the method of making ethanol is renewable since sugar beets and yeast grow fast, the reaction has low atom economy and the enzyme gets killed from the ethanol produced. However, the industrial production of ethanol is also a good example of why Le Chatalier’s principle is important in real life as ethanol is produced by a reversible reaction between ethene and steam.

Iron is used as a catalyst in the Haber process – the reversible production of ammonia, which combines hydrogen and nitrogen. Containing potassium hydroxide as a promoter to increase it’s efficiency, the use of iron does not make it necessary for the use exce...

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...Lowering carbon emissions in car is a big step in the other direction of global warming.

Works Cited

Aicken, Michael et al. GCSE Chemistry OCR 21st Century. Coordination Group Publishers (CGP). (2007). Pg. 85. Print.

Angelosanto, Antonio et al. AS-LEVEL Chemistry. Coordination Group Publishers (CGP). (2008). Pg. 87. Print.

Clark, Jim. ‘Haber Process‘. (2002). Np. Web. Date accessed: 24.05.11.

Bryant, Charles. ‘How catalytic converters work‘. N.p. Web. Date accessed: 25.05.11

Wikipedia. ‘Catalytic Converters.’ Wikimedia Foundations Inc., Web. Date Accessed: 25.05.11

R, Eric and C, Pete ‘Catalytic converter’. (2005). N.p. Web. Date accessed: 23.05.11

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