A hydrogenation catalyst that can be reused 150 times

June 26, 2020

Organic transformation reaction using a supporte catalyst with high catalytic activity and good reusability

A joint team of researchers from RIKEN CSRS and Institute of Molecular Science has found that a small amount of the supported palladium catalyst the team had developed can be reused for hydrogenation reaction 150 times.

Various types of catalysts are used in petrochemical production. Hydrogenation catalysts, among others, are used for a wide range of purposes from producing base materials, intermediates, and various petrochemical products. They are used the most in terms of quantity as well. While palladium is commonly used as a hydrogenation catalyst, it is an expensive rare metal which costs several million yen or more per kilogram of ingot. Hence, the development of catalysts with high catalytic activity and good reusability has been one of the research subjects in the field of petrochemical production in Japan.
The team used a silicon nanowire array and palladium nanoparticle hybrid (SiNA-Pd) developed in 2014 as a catalyst to carry out hydrogenation of alkenes in a hydrogen gas environment at atmospheric pressure. It was found that SiNA-Pd did not lose its catalytic activity after being reused 150 times, giving close to 100% yield of corresponding products. From the analysis, it was found that the palladium in SiNA-Pd was strongly anchored to silicon via metallic bonds. Presumably, this prevented the leakage of palladium from silicon and significantly improved reusability compared to conventional catalysts.

It is anticipated that the results of this research will contribute to the advancement of pharmaceutical drug synthesis and the synthesis of useful substances such as organic semiconductors.

Original article
Communications Chemistry doi:10.1038/s42004-020-0332-z
Y. M. A. Yamada, H. Baek, T. Sato, A. Nakao, Y. Uozumi,
"Metallically Gradated Silicon Nanowire and Palladium Nanoparticle Composites as Robust Hydrogenation Catalysts".
Yoichi M. A. Yamada
Team Leader
Green Nanocatalysis Research Team