Community Research and Development Information Service - CORDIS

Towards cheap, green catalysts

New research from the EU is pioneering new approaches to chemical synthesis that uses cheap and sustainable organocatalysts instead of their conventional metal counterparts.
Towards cheap, green catalysts
Catalysis is a critical component of modern industrial synthesis, lowering reaction temperatures and speeding up reactions to make them more cost effective. New organocatalysts are cheaper and less environmentally toxic, but remain less effective than conventional metal catalysts.

The EU-funded BIO PRE-ORGANOCATS (Biomimetic multibinding pre-organocatalysts) initiative addressed this by developing organocatalysts with improved selectivity and reduced inactivation during reactions.

Over the course of the research, scientists developed a number of organocatalysts and compared them to ones previously developed in their lab. Although none performed better than previously established catalysts, BIO PRE-ORGANOCATS nevertheless made some important findings.

The first was a way to differentiate between closely related lactol compounds. This finding is already in use in a new process for separating large quantities of similar lactols in solution, greatly reducing reaction costs.

The second is a new parameter that can be used to track catalytic activity during a reaction. This method reduces the amount of organocatalyst required for a given reaction up to three-fold, once again reducing reaction costs.

While not achieving its original aims, BIO PRE-ORGANOCATS has made significant steps towards improving the performance of this new generation of catalysts.

Related information


Life Sciences


Chemical synthesis, organocatalysts, BIO PRE-ORGANOCATS, lactol, catalytic activity
Record Number: 183214 / Last updated on: 2016-08-17
Domain: Industrial Technologies