The dehydrogenation of acyclic alkanes to make higher alkylaromatic compounds can be done with heterogeneous catalysts at high temperature, but gives low yields and low selectivity. Now, a Rutgers team has developed a catalyst that works with an olefinic hydrogen acceptor to convert n-alkanes into alkylaromatics.
The reaction of n-octane, for example, gives 86 % yield of primarily o-xylene and secondarily ethylbenzene. The use of this catalyst could reduce reliance on oil as the starting material because n-alkanes can be made by reductive oligomerization of carbon monoxide and hydrogen.
- Catalytic dehydroaromatization of n-alkanes by pincer-ligated iridium complexes
R. Ahuja, B. Punji, M. Findlater, C. Supplee, W. Schinski, M. Brookhart, A. S. Goldman,
Nature Chem. 2010.