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Well-Defined Silica-Supported Titanium Catalysts for Introducing Nitrogen Functional Groups

Project description

Industry-compatible catalysts for the synthesis of amines

A variety of industries, including the pharmaceuticals, polymers and agrochemicals industries, use chemicals called amines. Traditional methods for making amines are inefficient in resources and energy; as a result, they are expensive and produce wasteful by-products. Alternative pathways to synthesise amines involve catalysis that is 100 % atom-efficient, facilitated by earth-abundant titanium catalysts. This catalysis offers significant environmental advantages over traditional methods, but it is not cost-effective for the industrial scale because separating the catalysts from the products is expensive. In this context, the EU-funded SiTi-CAT project will develop titanium catalysts for amine synthesis that can be easily and cheaply separated from the products. This will ensure that their widespread use is more attractive to industries and that amines can be produced in a more efficient way.


Amines are commercially valuable compounds used in a wide range of products including pharmaceuticals, agrochemicals and polymers (global market USD 16.6 billion), but their industrial synthesis is inefficient and expensive. Alternatively, nitrogen functional groups can be synthesised by green, 100% atom efficient reactions (hydroamination and hydroaminoalkylation) that are catalysed by earth-abundant homogeneous Ti complexes. These reactions are not yet industrially viable due to high costs of catalyst recovery and product purification. We need to develop catalysts for these processes that exhibit the high activity and selectivity of homogeneous Ti catalysts but are industrially viable.

This project will develop new heterogeneous catalysts for introducing nitrogen functional groups by immobilising Ti complexes based on homogeneous catalysts for hydroamination and hydroaminoalkylation onto silica surfaces. It will blend the disciplines of chemical synthesis, homogeneous catalysis, and surface organometallic chemistry by using the expertise of researchers and specialist facilities in Canada and France. I will: synthesise novel catalysts featuring well-defined Ti metal centres supported by ligands immobilised on silica surfaces, optimise their activity for hydroamination and hydroaminoalkylation on industrially important substrates, and investigate the mechanism of the reactions to optimise and enhance industrial applicability.

This project will transform green processes to manufacture nitrogen-containing chemicals from academic research into industrial routes. Knowledge and key skills in chemical synthesis, catalyst development and surface organometallic chemistry will be shared between European and Canadian researchers, resulting in a synergic partnership impacting academic and industrial fields. I will apply my previous experience and learn new technical and transferable skills, which will advance me to my goal of becoming an independent academic researcher.


Net EU contribution
€ 291 785,28
75794 Paris

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Ile-de-France Ile-de-France Paris
Activity type
Research Organisations
Total cost
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