promoting the sustainable and responsible use of cobalt in all forms


Cobalt compounds used

Cobalt metal, cobalt oxide, cobalt diacetate, cobalt sulphate, cobalt dichloride, cobalt hydroxide, cobalt carboxylates


  • Removing sulphur moieties from natural gas and refined petroleum products
  • Synthesis of polyester precursors
  • Production of aldehydes from alkenes in the OXO reaction
  • Other industrial reactions.

Cobalt contributes to a greener society by acting as a catalyst in desulphurisation reactions. These reactions remove sulphur from natural gas and from refined petroleum products, such as petrol (or gasoline), diesel, kerosene fuels and fuel oils used in automotive vehicles, aircraft, ships, gas or oil burning power plants and residential and industrial furnaces. It is estimated that for every ton of cobalt applied as a catalyst mixture contributes to a sulphur oxides (SOx) emission reduction of 25,000 tons and a nitrogen oxides (NOx) emission reduction of 750 tons.

Catalysts lower the activation energy of a chemical reaction therefore reducing the amount of energy needed in industrial processes.

Cobalt catalysts also lead to a greener society by lowering the activation energy (e.g. pressure, temperature) needed for industrial processes, such as the creation of recyclable plastics. Less energy therefore needs to be used to obtain the same yield, which in turn means less carbon emissions. Without catalysts, industry would not be able to hit the desired 20-20 European Commission green-house emission-reduction targets.

By definition, a catalyst is not consumed in a chemical reaction, but there are always “in process” losses as well as losses in the catalyst recovery, recycling and operations.

Recyclable plastic
Cobalt catalysts lower the activation energy needed for industrial processes, such as the creation of recyclable plastics.

Importance of cobalt as a catalyst

Cobalt can be considered impossible to substitute as a catalyst due to the following properties:

Photo credit: Southeast Steam Plant, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, Minnesota - Karl Frankowski (Flickr); Catalysis reaction progress - Smokefoot; via Wikimedia Commons