The oxidation of alcohols to carboxylic acids is an important industrial reaction used in the synthesis of bulk and fine chemicals. Most current processes are performed by making use of either stoichiometric amounts of toxic oxidizing agents or the use of pressurized dioxygen. Here, we describe an alternative dehydrogenative pathway effected by water and base with the concomitant generation of hydrogen gas. A homogeneous ruthenium complex catalyses the transformation of primary alcohols to carboxylic acid salts at low catalyst loadings (0.2 mol%) in basic aqueous solution. A consequence of this finding could be a safer and cleaner process for the synthesis of carboxylic acids and their derivatives at both laboratory and industrial scales.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Chemical Engineering(all)