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Researchers report hydrogenation of CO2 to methanol using a homogeneous ruthenium–phosphine catalyst

Researchers at RWTH Aachen University describe the homogenously catalyzed hydrogenation of CO2 to methanol using a homogeneous transition metal catalyst system based on a single ruthenium phosphine complex under relatively mild conditions in a paper published in the journal Angewandte Chemie International Edition. This is the first example of CO2 hydrogenation to methanol by using a single molecularly defined catalyst.

The effective hydrogenation of carbon dioxide to methanol could contribute particularly strongly to the development of a low-carbon economy, where methanol serves as energy vector and offers a versatile entry into the chemical supply chain.

The current production of methanol is based on syngas (CO/H2) derived from fossil resources using heterogeneous catalysts at elevated temperatures and pressure. Small amounts of CO2 are added to the feedstock stream to balance the C/H ratio. The direct hydrogenation of only carbon dioxide to methanol using heterogeneous catalysts has been demonstrated and is investigated intensively for larger scale implementation. In sharp contrast, the conversion of CO2 with H2 into CH3OH using a single molecularly defined homogeneous catalyst remains as yet elusive.

...Herein, we describe the homogenously catalyzed hydrogenation of CO2 to methanol using a homogeneous transition metal catalyst system based on a single ruthenium phosphine complex.

—Wesselbaum et al.

The team is currently studying the active catalyst species and the detailed reaction mechanism towards the rational tuning of catalyst activity.

Resources

  • Wesselbaum, S., vom Stein, T., Klankermayer, J. and Leitner, W. (2012), Hydrogenation of Carbon Dioxide to Methanol by Using a Homogeneous Ruthenium–Phosphine Catalyst. Angew. Chem. Int. Ed.doi: 10.1002/anie.201202320

Comments

Engineer-Poet

Ruthenium is quite a bit cheaper than platinum too.

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