Renewable chitosan-derived cobalt@N-doped porous carbon for efficient aerobic esterification of alcohols under air†
The direct oxidation of alcohols to esters through a green and cost-effective strategy is a fascinating chemical synthesis route. In this study, an environmentally friendly N-doped porous carbon encapsulated Co-based nano-catalyst was prepared via a simple carbonization procedure, utilizing renewable chitosan, accessible dicyandiamide and low-cost Co(OAc)2 as co-precursors. The obtained Co@NC-2-T catalysts were successfully used in selective oxidation of aromatic alcohols with methanol to esters under atmospheric reaction conditions. The Co@NC-2-900 catalyst (added with 2 g dicyandiamide and pyrolyzed at 900 °C) shows optimal activity and applicability and can also be reused at least six times in the oxidative esterification of aromatic alcohols with excellent stability. The presence of superoxide anion radicals in the current catalytic system was detected by the EPR method, and a possible mechanism of alcohol oxidation to ester was proposed on this basis. Thus, this study provides a facile, eco-friendly, and highly efficient catalytic system for oxidative esterification of alcohols.