The Catalysis Institute in the Department of Chemical Engineering at the University of Cape Town concerns itself with both fundamental and applied research and development in the field of heterogeneous catalysis – encompassing all of molecular modelling, catalyst synthesis, physico-chemical characterisation and performance evaluation for industrially interesting chemical conversions. Although engaged in topics of international interest, the Institute has a strong commitment to addressing issues of direct importance to the South African Chemical Processing Industry – the principal fields of investigation include Fisher-Tropsch synthesis, hydrogen and fuel processing chemistries, zeolite/acid catalysis (especially as applied to hydrocracking and the transformation of phenols and derivatives) and catalysis by platinum group metals.
The Catalysis Institute hosts the DSI/NRF Centre of Excellence in Catalysis, c*change, and co-hosts the DSI Centre of Competence in Catalysis, HySA/Catalysis, in the National Hydrogen and Fuel Cells Technologies Flagship project. Two chairs in the NRF South African Research Chairs Initiative also find home in the Catalysis Institute.  Furthermore, the commercialisation of in-house developed scientific equipment and technologies are pursued through the Catalysis Institute, with two spin-out companies of the University of Cape Town having been formed.