Clean catalysis for sustainable development

Lead Research Organisation: University of Edinburgh
Department Name: Sch of Chemistry


Abstracts are not currently available in GtR for all funded research. This is normally because the abstract was not required at the time of proposal submission, but may be because it included sensitive information such as personal details.


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Arnold PL (2014) Activation of carbon dioxide and carbon disulfide by a scandium N-heterocyclic carbene complex. in Dalton transactions (Cambridge, England : 2003)

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Curcio M (2017) Triggering Redox Activity in a Thiophene Compound: Radical Stabilization and Coordination Chemistry. in Angewandte Chemie (International ed. in English)

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McKinven J (2014) Arene-ligated heteroleptic terphenolate complexes of thorium. in Dalton transactions (Cambridge, England : 2003)

Description We have so far shown that compounds that contain an electron poor metal and an electron rich, but labile ligand are able to activate a variety of substrates, in particular acidic hydrocarbons such as cyclopentadiene. Furthermore, we have shown that macrocycles can act as supports for metal clusters, and that tetranuclear zinc clusters activate and transform stoichiometrically carbon dioxide into zinc carbonates. We have also discovered that carbon dioxide can be transformed into methanol catalytically using hydrosilanes and a simple perrhenate salt. While this is an expensive catalyst, it is straightforwardly recycled. This type of compound also acts as a catalyst for deoxydehydration reactions that are important in the conversion of oxygenates from biodiesel and biomass into platform chemicals.
Exploitation Route We are developing ways to form reactive metal clusters on macrocyclic platforms. These may be of use in a variety of small molecule, catalytic transformations such as nitrogen reduction and water oxidation, and will form the basis of new funding proposals. We are also using our expertise in Re chemistry to look into oxygenation catalysis, e.g. dihydroxylation of diols. We are moving our research towards the use of earth-abundant metals, and have some very recent results that suggest the methods developed through the Critical Mass funding can be applied in this arena.
Sectors Chemicals,Energy

Description The collaborations taken up within the Critical Mass grant funding allowed us to develop further interactions with colleagues at St Andrews University and were crucial for the development of the EPSRC Centre for Doctoral Training in Critical Resource Catalysis (CRITICAT), a three-way venture between St Andrews, Edinburgh, and Heriot-Watt Universities. From this venture has arisen significant opportunities to interact with academic and non-academic collaborators and with industry. CRITICAT has since evolved into the new initiative EaSiCAT which combines the catalysis expertise of St Andrews, Edinburgh, and Heriot-Watt Universities under one umbrella theme (led by St Andrews) and which engages very strongly with industrial partners (upwards of 20).
First Year Of Impact 2019
Sector Chemicals
Impact Types Economic,Policy & public services

Description TUM collaboration 
Organisation Technical University of Munich
Department Chemistry
Country Germany 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution We have allied our work on metal extraction chemistry, in particular the design of receptors for the phase transfer of metalates, to prepare new catalysts for biphasic epoxidation reactions. We have therefore contributed significant experimental and theoretical work to this collaboration
Collaborator Contribution Expert advice and experimental/theoretical work on catalytic epoxidation chemistry
Impact Publications: M. Cokoja, R. M. Reich, M. E. Wilhelm, M. Kaposi, J. Schäffer, D. S. Morris, C. J. Münchmeyer, M. H. Anthofer, I. I. E. Markovits, F. E. Kühn, W. A. Herrmann, A. Jess, J. B. Love, 2016, "Epoxidation of unfunctionalized olefins in aqueous phase using ionic liquid catalysts: influence of the cation on the activity." ChemSusChem., 9, 1773-1776 M. Cokoja, I. I. E. Markovits, M. H. Anthofer, S. Poplata, A. Pöthig, D. S. Morris, P. A. Tasker, W. A. Herrmann, F. E. Kühn and J. B. Love, 2015, "Catalytic epoxidation by perrhenate through the formation of organic-phase supramolecular ion pairs," Chem. Commun., 51, 3399-3402.
Start Year 2013