Chemical reaction between molecular hydrogen (H) and another element or a compound, usually in the presence of a catalyst. It may involve adding hydrogen at the sites of double or triple bonds (see bonding) to make them single bonds (i.e., to saturate an unsaturated compound; see saturation), or to aromatic compounds to make them cyclic hydrocarbons. Edible oils with unsaturated fatty acids are liquid at room temperature; food manufacturers use hydrogenation to convert a fraction to saturated fatty acids to make the product more solid. A second type of hydrogenation involves breaking up a compound (hydrogenolysis, or destructive hydrogenation) and is of great importance in the petroleum industry. Numerous processes in gasoline and petrochemical manufacturing are based on it.
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