Hydrogenations und Hydroformylations

Prof. Armin Börner

Homogeneously catalyzed hydrogenations and hydroformylations play an important role in many syntheses in chemical and pharmaceutical chemistry, as well as in the production of odorants and agrochemicals. In particular, hydrogenation can be considered as one of the most widely used chemical transformations for the production of alkanes, alcohols and amines from a wide variety of starting products. Hydroformylation is an important reaction for the conversion of alkenes to aldehydes, the latter in turn being important reactants for further transformations (e.g. to alcohols, carboxylic acids, amines, etc.). A particular advantage of homogeneous reaction control arises from the high potential for controlling chemo-, regio- and stereoselectivity of the chemical transformation. The preparation of enantiomerically pure products by asymmetric hydrogenation represents a particular focus of the field. 

There is over 20 years of expertise in the field in both areas. All aspects of modern catalysis research are considered, such as synthesis of substrates and chiral ligands, synthesis and complete characterization, such as 103Rh-NMR and in situ HP-NMR spectroscopy, in situ HP-IR spectroscopy, in situ UV/Vis spectroscopy of precatalysts and catalysts, stability studies of ligands and complexes, DFT calculations and kinetic studies. Autoclaves of different volumes, including parallel reactors, are available for reactions under normal and elevated pressure (up to 200 bar). Up-scaling up to 3000 l is possible in cooperation with a permanent industrial partner. Total syntheses, e.g. in the context of patent circumvention processes, of up to 20 reaction steps including hydrogenation or hydroformylation steps are also carried out. For some time, heterogeneously catalyzed catalysts have also been investigated.

In close cooperation with industry, we develop applicable detailed solutions aimed at catalyst substitution or new process development. Among our cooperation partners were or are continue to include: 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 (Ghent), Solvias (Basel) and Uhde/ThyssenKrupp (Leuna).


The research department is divided into the topics:



Venture into a world where there is a connection between sugar and decisiveness or cave drawings and formula language. See how chemistry structures the world and knowledge of chemistry can contribute to a deeper understanding of the world we live in.

Much of what is in this book you learned in chemistry class - you probably filed it away in a curve of your brain and forgot about it. Either because you think you didn't understand it or because you think it has no relevance to your everyday life. The opposite is true. Chemistry is the common thread that connects all areas of our lives.

This book is written for those who want to study our life fundamentals more intensively. However, it can also be read as a supplementary or introductory textbook to organic chemistry.



Living things are distinguished by their chemical basis. Thus, knowledge of the properties of the elements and the interactions of the resulting compounds is a prerequisite for understanding biology.

Chemistry answers the questions of why, among the more than 100 elements of the periodic table (PSE), carbon and not silicon is the dominant element in biology and why precious metals, such as gold and silver, do not play a role. The PSE provides information about why phosphoric acid and not sulfuric acid acts as a bridge in polynucleic acids and why DNA had to evolve from RNA. At the same time, only chemistry makes clear why D-glucose is so central in the construction of biopolymers such as cellulose and glycogen, and why the citrate cycle is logically self-contained and without alternative. Biochemistry is also a synthesis chemistry that differs from "man-made" synthesis chemistry "only" in terms of the framework conditions. Individuals are selected from the multitude of elements of the PSE and the almost infinite number of chemical compounds. The selection is based on the environmental conditions on Earth, such as moderate temperatures, preferably atmospheric pressure, solvent water and as primary reaction partner oxygen.

The hypothesis is developed that the guiding principle of modern biology, the theory of evolution, has its roots in the underlying chemistry. This turns Darwinism from its biological head to its chemical feet. For example, the effect of phenols as radical scavengers is a priori chemical, before biological phenomena could evolve from it as differences in distinction in colored flowering plants. The book develops a completely new, chemistry-centered view of the "living nature" and challenges to a changed, biologically oriented chemistry didactics in schools and universities.