A high-activity, high-durability fixed catalyst for esterification

December 17, 2019

Successful development of a 2nd-gen polyphenolsulfonic acid resin catalyst

RIKEN CSRS and the Institute of Molecular Science (Okazaki, Japan) have succeeded in developing an immobilized polymer acid catalyst with higher activity than existing catalysts and high yields that can be applied in industrially important flow reactions.

Because ester compounds are so vital to the production of various chemical and pharmaceutical products, industry voices are calling for the development of fixed catalysts that can produce ester compounds more efficiently.

Researchers developed a second-generation polyphenolsulfonic acid resin catalyst from metaphenolsulfonic acid and formaldehyde. Insoluble in water and in organic solvents, this polymeric acid catalyst has higher durability and physical robustness compared to the first-generation polyphenolsulfonic acid resins developed by the team between 2013 and 2016. It also provides ester compounds with higher product yields than other existing flow esterification catalysts. In a 15-day test of continuous-flow esterification, there was no loss of catalytic activity while successfully synthesizing biodiesel at a rate of more than 90 percent.

The results of this research are expected to contribute to the development of efficient ester synthesis processes desired by the chemical process and pharmaceutical industries.

Original article
Organic Letters doi:10.1021/acs.orglett.9b04084
H. Hu, H. Ota, H. Baek, K. Shinohara, T. Mase, Y. Uozumi, Y. M. A. Yamada,
"Second-Generation meta-Phenolsulfonic Acid-Formaldehyde Resin as a Catalyst for ContinuousFlow Esterification".
Yoichi Yamada
Team Leader
Green Nanocatalysis Research Team