Matthew Kanan, Doctoral Dissertation Advisor (AC)
A closed cycle for esterifying aromatic hydrocarbons with CO2 and alcohol.
The ability to functionalize hydrocarbons with CO2 could create opportunities for high-volume CO2 utilization. However, current methods to form carbon-carbon bonds between hydrocarbons and CO2 require stoichiometric consumption of very resource-intensive reagents to overcome the low reactivity of these substrates. Here, we report a simple semi-continuous cycle that converts aromatic hydrocarbons, CO2 and alcohol into aromatic esters without consumption of stoichiometric reagents. Our strategy centres on the use of solid bases composed of an alkali carbonate (M2CO3, where M+=K+ or Cs+) dispersed over a mesoporous support. Nanoscale confinement disrupts the crystallinity of M2CO3 and engenders strong base reactivity at intermediate temperatures. The overall cycle involves two distinct steps: (1) CO32--promoted C-H carboxylation, in which the hydrocarbon substrate is deprotonated by the supported M2CO3 and reacts with CO2 to form a supported carboxylate (RCO2M); and (2) methylation, in which RCO2M reacts with methanol and CO2 to form an isolable methyl ester with concomitant regeneration of M2CO3.
View details for DOI 10.1038/s41557-019-0313-y
View details for PubMedID 31451785