Selective synthesis of formamides, 1,2-bis(N-heterocyclic)ethanes and methylamines from cyclic amines and CO2/H2 catalyzed by an ionic liquid–Pd/C system†
The reduction of CO2 with amines and H2 generally produces N-formylated or N-methylated compounds over different catalysts. Herein, we report the selective synthesis of formamides, 1,2-bis(N-heterocyclic)ethanes, and methylamines, which is achieved over an ionic liquid (IL, e.g., 1-butyl-3-methylimidazolium tetrafluoroborate, [BMIm][BF4])–Pd/C catalytic system. By simply varying the reaction temperature, formamides and methylamines can be selectively produced, respectively, in high yields. Interestingly, 1,2-bis(N-heterocyclic)ethanes can also be obtained via the McMurry reaction of the formed formamide coupled with subsequent hydrogenation. It was found that [BMIm][BF4] can react with formamide to form a [BMIm]+–formamide adduct; thus combined with Pd/C it can catalyze McMurry coupling of formamide in the presence of H2 to afford 1,2-bis(N-heterocyclic)ethane. Moreover, Pd/C–[BMIm][BF4] can further catalyze the hydrogenolysis of 1,2-bis(N-heterocyclic)ethane to access methylamine. [BMIm][BF4]–Pd/C was tolerant to a wide substrate scope, giving the corresponding formamides, 1,2-bis(N-heterocyclic)ethanes or methylamines in moderate to high yields. This work develops a new route to produce N-methylamine and opens the way to produce 1,2-bis(N-heterocyclic)ethane from cyclic amine as well.