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Center for Catalysis and Surface Science

Forging Insights Through Interdisciplinary Excellence

About Us

Established in 1983

Established in 1983, Northwestern's Center for Catalysis and Surface Science (CCSS) continues to deepen scientific and technological knowledge of the field as one of the world's premier institutes for interdisciplinary research.

Our Mission

The Center for Catalysis and Surface Science (CCSS) promotes interdisciplinary research fundamental to the discovery, synthesis, and understanding of catalysts and catalytic reactions essential to modern society. As a part of the Paula M. Trienens Institute for Sustainability and Energy, we apply our fundamental advances in catalysis science towards applications in alternative fuels, abatement of harmful emissions, resource recovery concepts, new processing routes, and many other strategies towards making chemicals more sustainable.

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scientist examining materials

The Center's primary research activities can be grouped into the following areas:

  • Characterization of active sites on solid surfaces and of reaction intermediates
  • Interaction of metals with oxides, in particular zeolites, and other promoter effects
  • Selectivity of advanced oxidation catalysis
  • Environmental catalysis directed toward destruction of gaseous pollutants



bird with plastic pollution

Durable Plastic Pollution Easily, Cleanly Degrades with New Catalyst

November 30, 2023
from Northwestern Now

Tobin J. Marks, Linda Broadbelt, and Yosi Kratish developed a catalyst that breaks down plastics found in fishing nets, carpets, and clothes. The non-toxic process can help purge pollution from our oceans.

Tobin Marks and researchers

Northwestern Researchers Receive $750K DOE Grant in Sustainability and Energy Catalysis

September 25, 2023

A $750,000 three-year grant from the Office of Basic Energy Sciences within the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) will advance understanding in sustainability and energy catalysis.

mechanical parts

Making Plastics Production More Energy Efficient

March 19, 2021
from Northwestern Engineering News

New approach to chemical catalysis results in higher yields of propylene using less energy

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