University of Tokyo researchers have developed a novel selective catalyst that allows the creation of several basic chemicals from biomass instead of petroleum. This discovery may lead to the use of plant biomass as a basic feedstock for the chemical industry.
The new catalyst developed by Professor Kyoko Nozaki's research group at the Graduate School of Engineering enables selective cleaving (hydrogenolysis) of carbon-oxygen (C-O) single bonds in phenols and aryl methyl ethers, two of the main components of lignin.
Lignin is a major component of plant dry matter and has the potential to replace petroleum as the primary source of basic aromatic chemicals such as BTX (benzene, toluene, and xylene) and phenol. Producing these building blocks from lignin requires the selective hydrogenolysis of C-O bonds in phenols and aryl ethers, but their aromatic rings are also susceptible to hydrogenation.
Using their new catalyst, the research group accomplished selective C-O bond hydrogenolysis without also cleaving the aromatic rings for the first time ever.
Professor Nozaki's research group employed hydroxycyclopentadienyl iridium complexes as catalysts under hydrogen (dihydrogen) at atmospheric pressure. Using these new catalysts, arenols (phenol derivatives) were successfully deoxygenated to afford the corresponding arenes.
In addition, aryl methyl ethers were converted selectively to arenols after demethylation with dihydrogen using the same catalysts.
"This study shows the potential of our catalysts for application to the mass use of lignin as feedstock for production of basic aromatic chemicals for the chemical industry, instead of using fossil fuels," says Professor Nozaki. "Our final goal is to contribute to the creation of a sustainable society that makes efficient use of renewable resources."
Shuhei Kusumoto and Kyoko Nozaki, "Direct and Selective Hydrogenolysis of Arenols and Aryl Methyl Ethers" Nature Communications on 23rd February 2015. DOI: 10.1038/ncomms7296
Department of Chemistry and Biotechnology, Graduate School of Engineering, The University of Tokyo, 7-3-1 Hongo, Bunkyo-ku, Tokyo 113-8656, Japan
Research contact information
Professor Kyoko Nozaki
Department of Chemistry and Biotechnology
Graduate School of Engineering
The University of Tokyo, Hongo, Bunkyo-ku, Tokyo 113-0033, Japan
Kyoko Nozaki | EurekAlert!
Gene therapy shows promise for treating Niemann-Pick disease type C1
27.10.2016 | NIH/National Human Genome Research Institute
'Neighbor maps' reveal the genome's 3-D shape
27.10.2016 | International School of Advanced Studies (SISSA)
Ultrafast lasers have introduced new possibilities in engraving ultrafine structures, and scientists are now also investigating how to use them to etch microstructures into thin glass. There are possible applications in analytics (lab on a chip) and especially in electronics and the consumer sector, where great interest has been shown.
This new method was born of a surprising phenomenon: irradiating glass in a particular way with an ultrafast laser has the effect of making the glass up to a...
Terahertz excitation of selected crystal vibrations leads to an effective magnetic field that drives coherent spin motion
Controlling functional properties by light is one of the grand goals in modern condensed matter physics and materials science. A new study now demonstrates how...
Researchers from the Institute for Quantum Computing (IQC) at the University of Waterloo led the development of a new extensible wiring technique capable of controlling superconducting quantum bits, representing a significant step towards to the realization of a scalable quantum computer.
"The quantum socket is a wiring method that uses three-dimensional wires based on spring-loaded pins to address individual qubits," said Jeremy Béjanin, a PhD...
In a paper in Scientific Reports, a research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute describes a novel light-activated phenomenon that could become the basis for applications as diverse as microscopic robotic grippers and more efficient solar cells.
A research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) has developed a revolutionary, light-activated semiconductor nanocomposite material that can be used...
By forcefully embedding two silicon atoms in a diamond matrix, Sandia researchers have demonstrated for the first time on a single chip all the components needed to create a quantum bridge to link quantum computers together.
"People have already built small quantum computers," says Sandia researcher Ryan Camacho. "Maybe the first useful one won't be a single giant quantum computer...
14.10.2016 | Event News
14.10.2016 | Event News
12.10.2016 | Event News
27.10.2016 | Materials Sciences
27.10.2016 | Physics and Astronomy
27.10.2016 | Life Sciences