Tightening environmental legislation is driving the fine and speciality chemicals industries to consider alternative processes that avoid the use of conventional mineral acids. The use of heterogeneous catalysts in these processes would vastly simplify catalyst removal, minimizing the amount of waste formed. However, diffusion limitation of liquids within porous solids dictates that effective solid acids for liquid-phase reactions require the use of mesoporous materials <20–100Å. Recent developments in materials chemistry has led to the discovery of a family of ordered mesoporous silicas which opens up new possibilities for preparing solid-acid catalysts for liquid-phase reactions. This review concentrates on recent developments in the synthesis of new mesoporous solid acids for liquid-phase organic synthesis.