Hydrogenation of polar bonds catalysed by ruthenium-pincer complexes

Ekambaram Balaraman, David Milstein

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

24 Citations (Scopus)


Catalytic hydrogenation of polar bonds using molecular hydrogen is an important, atom-economical synthetic reaction. Classical reduction methods of polar bond often require reactive metal-hydride reagents in stoichiometric amount and produce copious waste. Hydrogenation of carbonyl compounds in particular provides ‘green’ approaches to synthetically important building blocks, such as alcohols and amines. We have designed and synthesized several ruthenium-based pincer catalysts for unprecedented hydrogenation reactions including: (1) amides to alcohols and amines, (2) biomass-derived di-esters to 1,2-diols and (3) CO2 and CO derivatives to methanol. These atom-economical reactions operate under neutral, homogeneous conditions, at mild temperatures, mild hydrogen pressures, and can operate in absence of solvent with no generation of waste. The postulated mechanisms involve metal-ligand cooperation (MLC) by aromatization-dearomatization of the heteroaromatic pincer core.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)19-44
Number of pages26
JournalTopics in Organometallic Chemistry
Publication statusPublished - Nov 1 2014


  • Amides
  • Carbon dioxide
  • Esters
  • Hydrogen
  • Hydrogenation
  • Metal-ligand cooperation
  • Pincer complexes
  • Ruthenium

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Catalysis
  • Organic Chemistry
  • Inorganic Chemistry

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