Issue 23, 2001

Catalytic reactions in ionic liquids


The chemical industry is under considerable pressure to replace many of the volatile organic compounds (VOCs) that are currently used as solvents in organic synthesis. The toxic and/or hazardous properties of many solvents, notably chlorinated hydrocarbons, combined with serious environmental issues, such as atmospheric emissions and contamination of aqueous effluents is making their use prohibitive. This is an important driving force in the quest for novel reaction media. Curzons and coworkers, for example, recently noted that rigorous management of solvent use is likely to result in the greatest improvement towards greener processes for the manufacture of pharmaceutical intermediates. The current emphasis on novel reaction media is also motivated by the need for efficient methods for recycling homogeneous catalysts. The key to waste minimisation in chemicals manufacture is the widespread substitution of classical ‘stoichiometric’ syntheses by atom efficient, catalytic alternatives. In the context of homogeneous catalysis, efficient recycling of the catalyst is a conditio sine qua non for economically and environmentally attractive processes. Motivated by one or both of the above issues much attention has been devoted to homogeneous catalysis in aqueous biphasic and fluorous biphasic systems as well as in supercritical carbon dioxide. Similarly, the use of ionic liquids as novel reaction media may offer a convenient solution to both the solvent emission and the catalyst recycling problem.

Article information

Article type
Feature Article
10 Aug 2001
11 Sep 2001
First published
17 Oct 2001

Chem. Commun., 2001, 2399-2407

Catalytic reactions in ionic liquids

R. Sheldon, Chem. Commun., 2001, 2399 DOI: 10.1039/B107270F

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