Greener chemical reactions for consumer products
Ester hydrogenation is an important reaction that can be used in the production of a wide variety of fatty alcohols from bio-based feedstocks, such as seed and vegetable oils or animal fats. These fatty alcohols are used in a variety of cosmetic, medical and household products and are intermediates in a myriad of pharmaceuticals, nutraceuticals, flavours and fragrances.
The "reverse" chemical reaction, alcohol dehydrogenation, is also of significant industrial importance and is used to produce a range of fine and bulk chemicals, for example, ethyl acetate, an organic solvent viewed as a green alternative solvent that is produced on the order of 2.5M tonnes/year.
GreenCentre has recently in-licensed a catalyst technology from Wilfrid Laurier University that is capable of enhancing the throughput and reducing the energy consumption of ester hydrogenation and alcohol dehydrogenation reactions. Invented by Dr. D. Goussev, these selective Ru and Os-based catalysts have demonstrated unprecedented yields and selectivity and have the potential to re-invent a number of industrial processes and ultimately enhance the sustainability of a number of consumer products.