The present invention involves methods and compositions for synthesizing catalysts/porous materials. In some embodiments, the resulting materials are amorphous sulfide sieves that can be mass-produced for a variety of uses. In some embodiments, methods of the invention concern any suitable precursor (such as thiomolybdate salt) that is exposed to a high pressure pre-compaction, if need be. For instance, in some cases the final bulk shape (but highly porous) may be same as the original bulk shape. The compacted/uncompacted precursor is then subjected to an open-flow hot isostatic pressing, which causes the precursor to decompose and convert to a highly porous material/catalyst.