CatCarts® and Compatible Systems for Safe Catalyst Handling

We have plenty of offers to help you use catalysts for your reactions in a safe and cost-effective way, such as CatCarts®, MicroCatCarts™, MidiCarts and the CatCart Packer™.

Heterogeneous catalysis made safe and easy

The CatCart® system was designed to make the use of even pyrophoric catalysts safer, easier to handle, and reusable with different substrates. The CatCart® is part of the H-Cube Series and Phoenix Flow Reactor™ systems.

CatCarts® are made of a stainless-steel tube packed with a solid catalyst of a specific particle size range. A filter system at each end of the tube allows liquid to pass through the column but prevents catalyst from coming out.

ThalesNano offers a wide range of different catalysts loaded in cartridges to suit most types of hydrogenation reactions: from the more common types, such as palladium on carbon and Raney Ni, to catalysts used for more chemoselective hydrogenations, such as rhenium catalysts.

Advantages of using CatCarts®

The process of flowing a substrate liquid or gas/liquid mixture through a catalyst bed vastly increases the interaction between the 2 or 3 phases (solid catalyst, liquid substrate, hydrogen or any other gas). This interaction is important due to the limited solubility of the gases in solvents. The higher the mixing efficiency, the higher the mass transfer onto the catalyst, and therefore, the higher the reaction rates.

Another major advantage of the CatCart® system, is that the handling of highly pyrophoric catalysts, such as the Raney type, is much easier and safer. Catalyst fires most commonly occur upon addition of the catalyst to the reaction mixture and removal of the catalyst from the reaction mixture via filtration. With the CatCart® system, the filtration step is not necessary, since the catalyst stays contained in the cartridge, making the process far safer and less hazardous than conventional methods.

Summary of the advantages

  • Safer handling – no contact between user and catalyst
  • Exchange of catalyst is quick and safe with no mess
  • No catalyst filtration necessary
  • Ability to reuse catalyst with different substrates
  • More efficient mixing of the three phases leading to higher reaction rates

How they are used?

The insertion and exchange of CatCarts® into the ThalesNano reactors is a very simple process. The user needs only open the CatCart holder, remove the used CatCart®, and replace with another cartridge. The whole process takes only a few seconds.

During a reaction the liquid or gas-liquid substrate mixture enters the CatCart® and gets adsorbed onto the catalyst bed. The reaction takes place on the catalyst while the mixture passes through the cartridge. The product then flows out of the CatCart® and into a collection vial. All the catalyst remains in the cartridge, so the user need only evaporate the solvent to yield the product. After thorough washing with solvent, the CatCart® may be used again with another different substrate. This process can be repeated until the catalyst deactivates.

Different sizes to fit your chemistry

The CatCart technology is available in the following sizes:

30 mm CatCart 70 mm CatCart Micro CatCart MidiCart
Length (mm) 30 70 30 116
Internal diameter (mm) 4  4  4  90.5
Compatible with H-Cube Mini Plus, H-Cube Pro, Phoenix Flow Reactor.  H-Cube Mini Plus, H-Cube Pro, Phoenix Flow Reactor.  H-Cube Mini Plus, H-Cube Pro, Phoenix Flow Reactor.  H-Cube Midi, Phoenix Flow Reactor

Links for further information

  • To view the list of currently available CatCarts®, please click here.
  • If you are interested in pricing, please send us an email to sales[at] with the products you are interested in or order online.


The lifetime of the catalyst is affected by polarity, molecular weight, purity, solvent and types of functional groups, e.g. sulphur groups which may poison the catalyst. A 30 mm CatCart can make react at least 500 mg of starting material, but we have reduced up to 10 g of certain compounds without any catalyst deactivation.
Every CatCart purchase contains a deactivating per CatCart. This vial is filled up with a solution of sodium hydrogen sulfite that renders the catalyst non-pyrophoric. Once the CatCart® is finished with, it should be closed in this deactivation vial and disposed in the same way as any heterogeneous catalyst from a batch reactor.
A selection of poisoned catalysts for selective reduction are available, including Lindlar’s catalyst and Pt sulfided catalysts. Click here. to consult the whole list of CatCarts
In certain reactions the product formed, e.g. primary amine, will bind strongly to the catalyst leading to deactivation overtime. Unlike in the inside a batch reactor, where the product, starting material, and catalyst mixture are in contact during the whole reaction time, in a CatCart the deactivating product is flowing out continuously, so it has a very short residence time on the catalyst surface, and therefore, the deactivation will take place over a longer time. Another variable that plays a big role in the lifetime of a CatCart is the concentration of the starting material in the reactant solution: as it increases, the deactivation of the catalyst will occur faster.
You can either try one of the validation reactions (e.g. 5-nitroindole reduction) on a 50 mg scale, or you can make your reactions in more fractions, test the result of each, and recycle back the non-reduced fraction on a new column.
If you wish to store the CatCart® in the original vial, the vial must be filled with deionized water, this is especially critical in the case of pyrophoric catalysts if the because if you let the catalyst dry, it will catch on fire.
ThalesNano recommends to let the system to cool down and wash it by flowing the same solvent used in the reaction for at least 10 minutes. After the washing, the CatCart should be removed from the reactor and stored or disposed properly.
Wash the system with pure solvent after each reaction for at least 10 minutes and then test using an LC or GCMS to see if there is any contaminant in the solvent. If there is, wash for further 10 minutes or as long as you do not find any remining of the past reaction.
Never use acid with Raney Ni because you will dissolve the nickel. If you wish to store the CatCarts filled with Raney Ni or any other catalyst after use, ALWAYS place them in their original containers filled with deionized water.
The cartridges for H-Cube® and H-Cube Midi™ are different sizes and so H-Cube® cartridges cannot be used on the H-Cube Midi™ system. Phoenix Flow Reactor can work with either of them using the proper holders.
You can preorder from ThalesNano your CatCarts to be filled with the catalyst that you need. Or if you prefer, it is also possible that you fill up your own CatCarts with any catalyst you want using the CatCart Packer.

Links for further information

For more questions and answers please visit our FAQ session here