Regio- and Stereoselective Hydrogenations and Hydroformylations with Homogeneous Transition Metal Catalysts
Prof. Armin Börner
Homogeneously catalyzed hydrogenations and hydroformylations play an important role in a number of synthetic routes in the chemical and pharmaceutical industry, as well for the preparation of synthetic fragrances, odors and agrochemicals. In particular the hydrogenation can be considered as one of the most versatile methods for the preparation of alkanes, alcohols and amines starting from different starting products. The hydroformylation is an pivotal reaction for the transformation of alkenes into aldehydes. The latter represent important starting compounds for the preparation of other functionalized compounds (alcohols, carboxylic acids, amines etc.). A particular advantage of homogeneous catalysts lies in their high potential to run the reaction in a highly chemoselective, regioselective and stereoselective manner. The production of enantiomerically pure compounds is an important field of activity in the department.
In the department we have more than 20 years of experience in both areas. All aspects of modern catalysis research are considered, e.g. synthesis of substrates and chiral ligands, synthesis and comprehensive characterization - e.g. 103Rh-NMR and in situ HP-NMR spectroscopy, in situ HP-IR spectroscopy, in situ UV/Vis spectroscopy – of precatalysts and catalysts, investigation of stability of ligands and catalysts, DFT-calculations and kinetic investigations.
Reactions can be investigated under normal as well as under enhanced pressure (till 200 bar), including the use of parallel autoclaves. Up-scaling by up to 3000 l can be performed in collaboration with a permanent partner of the industry.
Besides these activities, strategies based on multi-step synthesis employing hydrogenation or hydroformylation steps are developed in order to avoid existing patents. Since a few years also heterogeneously catalyzed reactions are under investigations.
In close collaboration with the industry practicable solutions are developed, targeting catalyst improvement, catalyst substitution or the creation of entirely new approaches. Currently, more than 10 innovations developed in the department have been commercialized or are running in an industrial scale.
Cooperations exist or have been successfully carried out, respectively, with: BASF (Ludwigshafen), Bayer Healthcare (Wuppertal), Boehringer-Ingelheim, ChiroBlock (Wolfen), Degussa Homogeneous Catalysts (Hanau), DSM (Basel), Esteve (Barcelona), Grünenthal (Aachen), Hansen & Rosenthal (Hamburg), Miltitz-Aromen (Leipzig), Miltitz Aromatics (Bitterfeld), Mitsubishi Gas Chemicals (Düsseldorf), Mitsubishi Gas Chemicals (Tokyo), Hüls AG/Oxeno C4-Chemie/Evonik Industries (Advanced Intermediates), ratiopharm (Ulm/Basel), Taminco (Gent), Solvias (Basel) and Uhde/ThyssenKrupp (Leuna).
The department is divided into three topics: