In modern technological processes nearly 75% of all chemicals require a catalyst for their production. Moreover, very frequently the most demanding stages require a late Transition Metal based catalyst because of their exceptional ability to activate relatively inert non-polar chemical bonds such as H-H or C-H linkages. However, application of such systems is likely to become increasingly difficult, due to a lack of sustainable availability, together with the high cost and toxicity of these metals. Therefore replacement of precious Transition Metals with inexpensive, abundant, and (in most cases) less toxic Main Group element analogues is at the cutting edge of modern research. We propose to use an approach based on the application of the unique electronic properties of anionic boryl ligands to construct complexes of the Main Group elements with reactivity comparable to Transition Metal systems. Our main goal is to establish the fundamental ground rules for catalyst design in what is an entirely new area of endeavour contributing to the “cheap metals for noble tasks” strategy.
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