Dehydrogenation of ammonia borane through the third equivalent of hydrogen†
Ammonia borane (AB) has high hydrogen density (19.6 wt%), and can, in principle, release up to 3 equivalents of H2 under mild catalytic conditions. A limited number of catalysts are capable of non-hydrolytic dehydrogenation of AB beyond 2 equivalents of H2 under mild conditions, but none of these is shown directly to derivatise borazine, the product formed after 2 equivalents of H2 are released. We present here a high productivity ruthenium-based catalyst for non-hydrolytic AB dehydrogenation that is capable of borazine dehydrogenation, and thus exhibits among the highest H2 productivity reported to date for anhydrous AB dehydrogenation. At 1 mol% loading, (phen)Ru(OAc)2(CO)2 (1) effects AB dehydrogenation through 2.7 equivalents of H2 at 70 °C, is robust through multiple charges of AB, and is water and air stable. We further demonstrate that catalyst 1 has the ability both to dehydrogenate borazine in isolation and dehydrogenate AB itself. This is important, both because borazine derivatisation is productivity-limiting in AB dehydrogenation and because borazine is a fuel cell poison that is commonly released in H2 production from this medium.