May 14, 2019

New Estimating Tool Providing Catalyst Cost Information

Labs collaborate to develop, deploy tool to research community and industry

More than 85% of chemical processes rely on catalysts, but limited information on their cost can lead to roadblocks during early-stage research and development and along the path to commercialization. To address this challenge, the National Renewable Energy Laboratory and Pacific Northwest National Laboratory developed CatCost, a catalyst cost estimation tool that incorporates industry-standard estimation methods into an intuitive, user-friendly suite of tools.

PNNL and National Renewable Energy Laboratory have partnered on a first-of-its-kind tool that estimates costs of catalysts.

CatCost—released to the public last fallgenerates rigorous cost estimates on large-scale production of pre-commercial catalysts. The tool incorporates industry-standard estimation methods into an intuitive, user-friendly suite of tools. Previously, without cost information, research often hit roadblocks, as catalysts can contribute to a significant portion of product costs.

For products requiring catalysts, CatCost reduces commercialization risk for industry—from petroleum refining, biofuel production, and chemical manufacture to energy generation and food production. Delivering meaningful cost comparisons between materials, identifying problem materials, and providing risk analysis allows researchers to understand the economics and make informed decisions early in the catalyst design and development processes—well before commercialization occurs.

The tool—which is free of charge to the public—quickly delivers cost insight so that researchers can focus efforts on areas with the greatest potential for cost reduction.

The research was supported by DOE’s Bioenergy Technologies Office.

Learn more.


About PNNL

Pacific Northwest National Laboratory draws on its distinguishing strengths in chemistry, Earth sciences, biology and data science to advance scientific knowledge and address challenges in sustainable energy and national security. Founded in 1965, PNNL is operated by Battelle for the Department of Energy’s Office of Science, which is the single largest supporter of basic research in the physical sciences in the United States. DOE’s Office of Science is working to address some of the most pressing challenges of our time. For more information, visit For more information on PNNL, visit PNNL's News Center. Follow us on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and Instagram.

Published: May 14, 2019