CO2 Activation by Organocatalyst

  • Author: ChemistryViews
  • Published: 30 November 2010
  • Copyright: Wiley-VCH Verlag GmbH & Co. KGaA
  • Source / Publisher: Organic Letters/ACS Publications
thumbnail image: CO<sub>2</sub> Activation by Organocatalyst

The chemical activation of carbon dioxide could not only help reduce CO2 levels in the atmosphere, but could provide a renewable feedstock for the chemical industry. The strong C=O bonds, however, make the activation and fixation of CO2 through organic syntheses difficult.


Takashi Sakai and co-workers, Okayama University, Japan, report a bifunctional organocatalyst based on an ammonium betaine framework for the cooperative activation of CO2 with epoxides. The team tested a range of catalysts in which the distance between the two functional groups of the betaine framework was varied. The conversion of 1,2-epoxyhexane to the cyclic carbonate was achieved with yields of >99 % with 1 mol% of the best catalyst, 3-(trimethylammonio)phenolate.


The betaine-CO2 adduct was shown to form readily at 15 °C and this catalytic system is currently one of the most active under metal-free, halogen-free, and solvent-free conditions.


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