Unlocking the potential of supported liquid phase catalysts with supercritical fluids: low temperature continuous flow catalysis with integrated product separation

Giancarlo Franciò, Ulrich Hintermair, Walter Leitner

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Abstract

Solution-phase catalysis using molecular transition metal complexes is an extremely powerful tool for chemical synthesis and a key technology for sustainable manufacturing. However, as the reaction complexity and thermal sensitivity of the catalytic system increase, engineering challenges associated with product separation and catalyst recovery can override the value of the product. This persistent downstream issue often renders industrial exploitation of homogeneous catalysis uneconomical despite impressive batch performance of the catalyst. In this regard, continuous-flow systems that allow steady-state homogeneous turnover in a stationary liquid phase while at the same time effecting integrated product separation at mild process temperatures represent a particularly attractive scenario. While continuous-flow processing is a standard procedure for large volume manufacturing, capitalizing on its potential in the realm of the molecular complexity of organic synthesis is still an emerging area that requires innovative solutions. Here we highlight some recent developments which have succeeded in realizing such systems by the combination of near- and supercritical fluids with homogeneous catalysts in supported liquid phases. The cases discussed exemplify how all three levels of continuous-flow homogeneous catalysis (catalyst system, separation strategy, process scheme) must be matched to locate viable process conditions.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1 - 26
Number of pages26
JournalProceedings of the Royal Society A: Mathematical Physical and Engineering Sciences
Volume373
Issue number2057
Early online date16 Nov 2015
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 28 Dec 2015

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Catalysis
Supercritical fluids
supercritical fluids
Catalyst
catalysis
liquid phases
Liquid
catalysts
Fluid
Catalysts
Liquids
products
manufacturing
Manufacturing
Chemical Synthesis
Temperature
Systems Engineering
synthesis
exploitation
Metal complexes

Cite this

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N2 - Solution-phase catalysis using molecular transition metal complexes is an extremely powerful tool for chemical synthesis and a key technology for sustainable manufacturing. However, as the reaction complexity and thermal sensitivity of the catalytic system increase, engineering challenges associated with product separation and catalyst recovery can override the value of the product. This persistent downstream issue often renders industrial exploitation of homogeneous catalysis uneconomical despite impressive batch performance of the catalyst. In this regard, continuous-flow systems that allow steady-state homogeneous turnover in a stationary liquid phase while at the same time effecting integrated product separation at mild process temperatures represent a particularly attractive scenario. While continuous-flow processing is a standard procedure for large volume manufacturing, capitalizing on its potential in the realm of the molecular complexity of organic synthesis is still an emerging area that requires innovative solutions. Here we highlight some recent developments which have succeeded in realizing such systems by the combination of near- and supercritical fluids with homogeneous catalysts in supported liquid phases. The cases discussed exemplify how all three levels of continuous-flow homogeneous catalysis (catalyst system, separation strategy, process scheme) must be matched to locate viable process conditions.

AB - Solution-phase catalysis using molecular transition metal complexes is an extremely powerful tool for chemical synthesis and a key technology for sustainable manufacturing. However, as the reaction complexity and thermal sensitivity of the catalytic system increase, engineering challenges associated with product separation and catalyst recovery can override the value of the product. This persistent downstream issue often renders industrial exploitation of homogeneous catalysis uneconomical despite impressive batch performance of the catalyst. In this regard, continuous-flow systems that allow steady-state homogeneous turnover in a stationary liquid phase while at the same time effecting integrated product separation at mild process temperatures represent a particularly attractive scenario. While continuous-flow processing is a standard procedure for large volume manufacturing, capitalizing on its potential in the realm of the molecular complexity of organic synthesis is still an emerging area that requires innovative solutions. Here we highlight some recent developments which have succeeded in realizing such systems by the combination of near- and supercritical fluids with homogeneous catalysts in supported liquid phases. The cases discussed exemplify how all three levels of continuous-flow homogeneous catalysis (catalyst system, separation strategy, process scheme) must be matched to locate viable process conditions.

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