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Issue 39, 2019

CO2 reduction with protons and electrons at a boron-based reaction center

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Abstract

Borohydrides are widely used reducing agents in chemical synthesis and have emerging energy applications as hydrogen storage materials and reagents for the reduction of CO2. Unfortunately, the high energy cost associated with the multistep preparation of borohydrides starting from alkali metals precludes large scale implementation of these latter uses. One potential solution to this issue is the direct synthesis of borohydrides from the protonation of reduced boron compounds. We herein report reactions of the redox series [Au(B2P2)]n (n = +1, 0, −1) (B2P2, 9,10-bis(2-(diisopropylphosphino)phenyl)-9,10-dihydroboranthrene) and their conversion into corresponding mono- and diborohydride complexes. Crucially, the monoborohydride can be accessed via protonation of [Au(B2P2)], a masked borane dianion equivalent accessible at relatively mild potentials (−2.05 V vs. Fc/Fc+). This species reduces CO2 to produce the corresponding formate complex. Cleavage of the formate complex can be achieved by reduction (ca. −1.7 V vs. Fc/Fc+) or by the addition of electrophiles including H+. Additionally, direct reaction of [Au(B2P2)] with CO2 results in reductive disproportion to release CO and generate a carbonate complex. Together, these reactions constitute a synthetic cycle for CO2 reduction at a boron-based reaction center that proceeds through a B–H unit generated via protonation of a reduced borane with weak organic acids.

Graphical abstract: CO2 reduction with protons and electrons at a boron-based reaction center

Supplementary files

Article information


Submitted
07 Jun 2019
Accepted
30 Jul 2019
First published
06 Aug 2019

This article is Open Access
All publication charges for this article have been paid for by the Royal Society of Chemistry

Chem. Sci., 2019,10, 9084-9090
Article type
Edge Article

CO2 reduction with protons and electrons at a boron-based reaction center

J. W. Taylor, A. McSkimming, L. A. Essex and W. H. Harman, Chem. Sci., 2019, 10, 9084 DOI: 10.1039/C9SC02792K

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