Tom Gaide studied chemistry at the technical university of Dortmund from 2007-2014. Since 2014, he is working on his PhD thesis at the Chair of Technical Chemistry under supervision of Prof. Behr. His research interest is the implementation of renewable starting materials in homogeneously catalyzed processes.
Utilization of renewable feedstocks is of high interest for the sustainable synthesis of valuable chemical building blocks. In this context, homogeneously catalyzed carbonylation reactions unsaturated substrates is of outstanding potential, e.g. for monomer or surfactant synthesis.
Carbonylation reactions are also perfectly suited for merging them together in one preparative step without intermediate purification in so called tandem reactions. This is beneficially from a process development point of view, since it safes time, effort, chemicals and therefore, money. Additionally, synergetic effects in tandem reactions enable new pathways for the conversion of alternative feedstocks into value-added products.
The main drawbacks of olefin carbonylation reactions in view of designing chemical processes are the separation and the subsequent recycling of the homogeneous transition metal catalysts. These complexes mostly consist of precious metal centres and tailored ligands, which makes them expensive.
Consequently, an olefin carbonylation process using those catalysts can only be economically feasible, if an efficient catalyst recycling strategy is applied. Unluckily, the sensitivity of homogeneous transition metal catalysts against high temperature, air or other chemicals makes their recovery challenging.
Herein, we show our recent developments in the transition metal catalyzed carbonylation of renewable starting materials in the context of process development. New tandem reactions are presented and different catalyst recycling strategies (e.g. thermomorphic multicomponent solvent systems, product crystallization…) are applied in these reactions. Also the development of continuously operated processes starting from laboratory scale batch experiments is demonstrated.
The developments in this work consider the principles of green chemistry aiming for the development of sustainable processes. All products are of high interest for potential technical applications. Figure 1 gives an overview about the developed chemistry.