A new synthesis of alkenes with simple solid catalysts.
Researchers at the ITQ, UPV-CSIC, belonging to the Catalysis group for a Sustainable Organic Chemistry, in collaboration with Researchers from the Bioinformatics group at the Catholic University of Murcia, have developed a new way to prepare alkenes with solids, though the reaction known as carbonyl-olefin metathesis, where an aldehyde molecule and a vinyl ether molecule (both readily available commercially and even widely present in nature, from biomass)engage in a single step. To this end, commercial silica-based solids, extremely cheap, were used as catalysts, which allows to produce the new alkenes not only in conventional batch reactors but also in continuous tubular reactors, providing a very competitive final price for the commercial alkenes.
Alkenes are fundamental molecules in our modern way of life since they are a constituent part or necessary precursor for plastics, drugs, cosmetics, lubricants, detergents and many more. The simplest alkenes are obtained directly from petroleum in the petrochemical industry, but the rest of alkenes need additional steps that require expensive catalysts, often irrecoverable and that increase the price and the ecological footprint significantly.
The results have just been published in the prestigious international chemical journal of the German chemical society, Angewandte Chemie