New materials are prerequisite for major breakthrough applications influencing our daily life, and therefore are pivotal for the chemical industry. Metal-organic frameworks (MOFs) constitute an emerging class of materials useful in gas storage, gas purification and separation applications as well as heterogeneous catalysis. They not only offer higher surface areas and the potential for enhanced activity than currently used materials like base metal oxides, but also provide shape/size selectivity which is important both for separations and catalysis. In this critical review an overview of the potential applications of MOFs in the chemical industry is presented. Furthermore, the synthesis and characterization of the materials are briefly discussed from the industrial perspective (88 references).