Chapter 19: Catalysis by Metal Carbides and Nitrides

Joshua Schaidle, Connor Nash, Matthew Yung, Yuan Chen, Sarah Carl, Levi Thompson

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


Early transition metal carbides and nitrides (ETMCNs), materials in which carbon or nitrogen occupies interstitial sites within a parent metal lattice, possess unique physical and chemical properties that motivate their use as catalysts. Specifically, these materials possess multiple types of catalytic sites, including metallic, acidic, and basic sites, and as such, exhibit reactivities that differ from their parent metals. Moreover, their surfaces are dynamic under reaction conditions. This chapter reviews recent (since 2010) experimental and computational investigations into the catalytic properties of ETMCN materials for applications including biomass conversion, syngas and CO2 upgrading, petroleum and natural gas refining, and electrocatalytic energy conversion, energy storage, and chemicals production, and attempts to link catalyst performance to active site identity/surface structure in order to elucidate the present level of understanding of structure-function relationships for these materials. The chapter concludes with a perspective on leveraging the unique properties of these materials to design and develop improved catalysts through a dedicated, multidisciplinary effort.
Original languageAmerican English
Title of host publicationHandbook of Solid State Chemistry
EditorsR. Dronskowski, S. Kikkawa, A. Stein
StatePublished - 2017

NREL Publication Number

  • NREL/CH-5100-67481


  • catalytic properties
  • chemicals production applications
  • electrocatalytic energy conversion
  • ETMCN materials
  • metal carbides
  • metal nitrides
  • structure-function relationships


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