Process for Alkane-Group Dehydrogenation with Organometallic Catalysts
BACKGROUND: Saturated hydrocarbons are among the most abundant components of petrochemicals, but they are generally unreactive in chemical reactions. Alkenes and arenes, however, are more reactive and are very useful as raw materials in the organic chemical industries. Thus, there has been much interest in processes that efficiently convert alkanes to alkenes or arenes. A strong need still exists for organometallic catalytic compounds (complexes) that maintain integrity over a long reaction time at moderate reaction temperatures and create a high turnover rate in dehydrogenation of alkanes to alkenes or arenes.
DESCRIPTION: Researchers at the University of California and the University of Hawaii have synthesized a new family of novel, organometallic dehydrogenation catalysts exhibiting exceptional thermal stability and high turnover rates. These catalysts have been successfully demonstrated in homogeneous reaction systems and also have potential for use in heterogeneous catalysis.
APPLICATIONS: These catalysts have the potential to improve a wide variety of dehydrogenation processes. The petrochemical industry relies upon such processes to produce organic chemicals for a large number of chemical and polymer products including solvents, monomers, and precursors for chemical syntheses.
ADVANTAGES: These new catalysts offer several advantages over existing organometallic catalysts and have the potential to improve the efficiency of dehydrogenation processes.
* Catalyst does not degrade even after a week at 200°C, whereas other organometallic catalysts exhibit half-lives of less than 12 hours at that temperature;
* Catalyst is tolerant of functional groups;
* High turnover rates are achieved at lower temperatures than conventional dehydrogenation reactions;
* High turnover rates are achieved without photoirradiation, high pressures of hydrogen, or high concentrations of hydrogen-acceptor compounds.
University of California, Santa Barbara, University of Hawaii
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