Indirect reduction of CO2 and recycling of polymers by manganese-catalyzed transfer hydrogenation of amides, carbamates, urea derivatives, and polyurethanes†
The reduction of polar bonds, in particular carbonyl groups, is of fundamental importance in organic chemistry and biology. Herein, we report a manganese pincer complex as a versatile catalyst for the transfer hydrogenation of amides, carbamates, urea derivatives, and even polyurethanes leading to the corresponding alcohols, amines, and methanol as products. Since these compound classes can be prepared using CO2 as a C1 building block the reported reaction represents an approach to the indirect reduction of CO2. Notably, these are the first examples on the reduction of carbamates and urea derivatives as well as on the C–N bond cleavage in amides by transfer hydrogenation. The general applicability of this methodology is highlighted by the successful reduction of 12 urea derivatives, 26 carbamates and 11 amides. The corresponding amines, alcohols and methanol were obtained in good to excellent yields up to 97%. Furthermore, polyurethanes were successfully converted which represents a viable strategy towards a circular economy. Based on control experiments and the observed intermediates a feasible mechanism is proposed.