Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Carbon dioxide tamed

17.01.2014
Using a copper catalyst to unite carbon dioxide with organic molecules under mild conditions could make this ubiquitous gas industrially useful

Carbon dioxide has become notorious as a troublesome greenhouse gas produced by burning fossil fuels. Now, this gas could also offer a cheap, abundant and nontoxic source of carbon for the chemical reactions that synthesize products such as plastics and pharmaceuticals.

Only a few industrial processes currently use carbon dioxide as a reagent because it takes a lot of energy to break its strong chemical bonds. For example, to synthesize salicylic acid, a precursor of aspirin, carbon dioxide must be squeezed to 100 times atmospheric pressure and the reaction mixture heated to 125 ºC.

Hung Duong of the A*STAR Institute of Chemical and Engineering Sciences in Singapore and co-workers have shown that a copper catalyst can incorporate carbon dioxide into organic molecules under much milder conditions1. The commercially available catalyst consists of a copper atom joined to a bulky ligand called 1,3-bis-(2,6-diisopropylphenyl)imidazol-2-ylidene (IPr).

Some reactions involving carbon dioxide require high-energy starting materials that contain reactive metals such as lithium or magnesium. However, these metals often destroy other sensitive chemical groups in the molecule during the reaction. Milder starting materials that contain tin tend to be highly toxic, “so we looked at the use of more environmentally benign organoborons,” says Duong.

The researchers tested a range of molecules that feature a carbon–carbon double bond close to a boron-containing chemical group. They assumed that the copper catalyst works by knocking the boron group off the molecule and briefly taking its place so that it can shepherd carbon dioxide into the right position to bond with the molecule. The products of the reaction contain a carbon–carbon double bond and a carboxylic acid group, arranged in a very predictable pattern. “These are highly versatile building blocks for organic synthesis,” explains Duong.

The reaction generally produced good yields of products when run at just 70 ºC and atmospheric pressure, although it was less successful in those cases where particularly large chemical groups were attached to one end of the starting material.

The reaction also needed relatively large amounts of catalyst – roughly one catalyst molecule for every 10 to 20 molecules of the starting material. “That amount is still too high for industrial use and needs further improvement,” says Duong.

His team now aims to expand the range of reactions that their catalyst can assist. “We are currently looking at exploiting the high reactivity of the copper catalyst toward carbon dioxide to prepare other valuable organic compounds under mild conditions,” he says.

The A*STAR-affiliated researchers contributing to this research are from the Institute of Chemical and Engineering Sciences.

Journal information

Duong, H. A., Huleatt, P. B., Tan, Q.-W. & Shuying, E. L. Regioselective copper-catalyzed carboxylation of allylboronates with carbon dioxide. Organic Letters 15, 4034–4037, 2013.

A*STAR Research | Research asia research news
Further information:
http://www.research.a-star.edu.sg
http://www.researchsea.com

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Could this protein protect people against coronary artery disease?
17.11.2017 | University of North Carolina Health Care

nachricht Microbial resident enables beetles to feed on a leafy diet
17.11.2017 | Max-Planck-Institut für chemische Ökologie

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: A “cosmic snake” reveals the structure of remote galaxies

The formation of stars in distant galaxies is still largely unexplored. For the first time, astron-omers at the University of Geneva have now been able to closely observe a star system six billion light-years away. In doing so, they are confirming earlier simulations made by the University of Zurich. One special effect is made possible by the multiple reflections of images that run through the cosmos like a snake.

Today, astronomers have a pretty accurate idea of how stars were formed in the recent cosmic past. But do these laws also apply to older galaxies? For around a...

Im Focus: Visual intelligence is not the same as IQ

Just because someone is smart and well-motivated doesn't mean he or she can learn the visual skills needed to excel at tasks like matching fingerprints, interpreting medical X-rays, keeping track of aircraft on radar displays or forensic face matching.

That is the implication of a new study which shows for the first time that there is a broad range of differences in people's visual ability and that these...

Im Focus: Novel Nano-CT device creates high-resolution 3D-X-rays of tiny velvet worm legs

Computer Tomography (CT) is a standard procedure in hospitals, but so far, the technology has not been suitable for imaging extremely small objects. In PNAS, a team from the Technical University of Munich (TUM) describes a Nano-CT device that creates three-dimensional x-ray images at resolutions up to 100 nanometers. The first test application: Together with colleagues from the University of Kassel and Helmholtz-Zentrum Geesthacht the researchers analyzed the locomotory system of a velvet worm.

During a CT analysis, the object under investigation is x-rayed and a detector measures the respective amount of radiation absorbed from various angles....

Im Focus: Researchers Develop Data Bus for Quantum Computer

The quantum world is fragile; error correction codes are needed to protect the information stored in a quantum object from the deteriorating effects of noise. Quantum physicists in Innsbruck have developed a protocol to pass quantum information between differently encoded building blocks of a future quantum computer, such as processors and memories. Scientists may use this protocol in the future to build a data bus for quantum computers. The researchers have published their work in the journal Nature Communications.

Future quantum computers will be able to solve problems where conventional computers fail today. We are still far away from any large-scale implementation,...

Im Focus: Wrinkles give heat a jolt in pillared graphene

Rice University researchers test 3-D carbon nanostructures' thermal transport abilities

Pillared graphene would transfer heat better if the theoretical material had a few asymmetric junctions that caused wrinkles, according to Rice University...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Ecology Across Borders: International conference brings together 1,500 ecologists

15.11.2017 | Event News

Road into laboratory: Users discuss biaxial fatigue-testing for car and truck wheel

15.11.2017 | Event News

#Berlin5GWeek: The right network for Industry 4.0

30.10.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

NASA detects solar flare pulses at Sun and Earth

17.11.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

NIST scientists discover how to switch liver cancer cell growth from 2-D to 3-D structures

17.11.2017 | Health and Medicine

The importance of biodiversity in forests could increase due to climate change

17.11.2017 | Studies and Analyses

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>