Continuously increasing oil prices, a dwindling supply of petroleum, and the existence of extensive reserves of biomass, especially of coal, have given rise to a growing interest in generating CO/H from these sources. Catalytic reactions can 2 convert CO/H mixtures to useful hydrocarbons or hydrocarbon intermediates. 2 There is little doubt that petroleum will remain the backbone of the organic chemical industry for many years to come, yet there is great opportunity for CO as an alternative feedstock at times when it is needed. The loosely defined body of chemistry and technology contained in these areas of development has become known as C 1 chemistry, embracing many C 1 building blocks such as CH , CO/H , CO, CH OH, CO and HCN; still emphasis 4 2 3 2 rests on carbon monoxide. Academic research laboratories, oil and chemical companies are in the vanguard of C 1 chemistry. The Japanese Ministry of International Trade and Industry is sponsoring a seven-year program of 14 major chemical companies in C 1 chemistry aimed at developing new technology for making basic chemicals from CO and H2 . It is likely that C 1 chemistry will develop slowly but persistently and the future holds great potential.