Catalysis consumes a large amount of energy and natural resources globally. Notably, the MIDREX (R) catalytic reform process delivers 60% of the world’s iron production out of naturally occurring iron oxide, as of 2017. However, there are two outstanding questions regarding catalytic processes for which this paper delivers efficient answers: (i) How to solve the energy/catalyst investment dichotomy, i.e. locations with relatively inexpensive energy require less catalyst and in the opposite case of high energy costs, more catalyst is needed. (ii) How to express the energy input, which is difficult to ascertain for large burner designs, in terms of an easily measurable parameters in real time, such as a the input temperatures. These questions are unambiguously answered by our approach, which is coupled with an easily visualizable graphical solution, leading to a powerful design tool for catalytic processes in general, with huge potential to mitigate environmental impacts.