The growing production of biodiesel as a promising alternative and renewable fuel led as the main problem the dramatic increase of its by-product: glycerol. Different strategies for glycerol derivatization have been reported so far, some more efficient or sustainable than others. Herein, we report a very promising and eco-friendly transformation of glycerol in nontoxic solvents and chemicals (i.e., solketal, ketals), proposing three new families of Fe(III) compounds capable of catalysing glycerol acetalization with unpublished turn over frequencies (TOFs), and adhering most of the principles of green chemistry. The comparison between the activity of complexes of formula [FeCl3(1-R)] (1-R = substituted pyridinimine), [FeCl(2-R,R′)] (2-R,R′ = substituted O,O′-deprotonated salens) and their corresponding simple salts reveals that the former are extremely convenient because they are able to promote solketal formation with excellent TOFs, up to 105 h−1. Satisfactory performances were shown with respect to the entire range of substrates, with results being competitive to those reported in the literature so far. Moreover, the experimental activity was supported by an accurate and complete ab initio study, which disclosed the fundamental role of iron(III) as Lewis acid in promoting the catalytic activity. The unprecedented high activity and the low loading of the catalyst, combined with the great availability and the good ecotoxicological profile of iron, foster future applications of this catalytic process for the sustainable transformation of an abundant by-product in a variety of chemicals.

Iron(III) Complexes for Highly Efficient and Sustainable Ketalization of Glycerol: A Combined Experimental and Theoretical Study

Esposito, Roberto;Raucci, Umberto;Cucciolito, Maria E.;Rega, Nadia;Ruffo, Francesco
2019

Abstract

The growing production of biodiesel as a promising alternative and renewable fuel led as the main problem the dramatic increase of its by-product: glycerol. Different strategies for glycerol derivatization have been reported so far, some more efficient or sustainable than others. Herein, we report a very promising and eco-friendly transformation of glycerol in nontoxic solvents and chemicals (i.e., solketal, ketals), proposing three new families of Fe(III) compounds capable of catalysing glycerol acetalization with unpublished turn over frequencies (TOFs), and adhering most of the principles of green chemistry. The comparison between the activity of complexes of formula [FeCl3(1-R)] (1-R = substituted pyridinimine), [FeCl(2-R,R′)] (2-R,R′ = substituted O,O′-deprotonated salens) and their corresponding simple salts reveals that the former are extremely convenient because they are able to promote solketal formation with excellent TOFs, up to 105 h−1. Satisfactory performances were shown with respect to the entire range of substrates, with results being competitive to those reported in the literature so far. Moreover, the experimental activity was supported by an accurate and complete ab initio study, which disclosed the fundamental role of iron(III) as Lewis acid in promoting the catalytic activity. The unprecedented high activity and the low loading of the catalyst, combined with the great availability and the good ecotoxicological profile of iron, foster future applications of this catalytic process for the sustainable transformation of an abundant by-product in a variety of chemicals.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11588/729649
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