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New Chemical Synthetic Methods for Reacting Phenols Selectively with Different Molecules and With Itself: Use of Electricity as a Sustainable, Economic and Traceless Reagent.

Periodic Reporting for period 1 - PhenAnOx (New Chemical Synthetic Methods for Reacting Phenols Selectively with Different Molecules and With Itself: Use of Electricity as a Sustainable, Economic and Traceless Reagent.)

Reporting period: 2020-03-01 to 2022-02-28

The scientific aim of this action was to address one of the most important and urgent problems in the chemical synthesis – the development of new electrosynthethic methods that utilize electricity as a sustainable, economic, and traceless reagent. In this way, the action was to advance the current state-of-the art in the electrosynthesis and provide alternatives for traditional chemical synthetic methods (i.e. reagent-based chemistry) to action’s stakeholders. Importantly, the hinderances of the reagent-based chemistry could be circumvented by applying economic and ecologic electrosynthetic methods. Thus, the wider adoptance of these methods could help chemical industries within EU to mitigate CO2 emissions and aid the industry to meet the ambitious carbon dioxide reducement goals in the European Green Deal “Fit for 55”.

Due to Covid-19 pandemic, we were forced to steer the project from experimental work to reviewing the literature. The literature review deals with an urgent, underacknowledged, and important topic – the corrosion of metal cathodes. This subject is tightly bound to the experimental plan and is currently a serious problem that is preventing the translation and implementation of electroorganic synthesis for large-scale chemical manufacturing. Thus, a better acknowledgement of the corrosion of the metal cathodes will play a key part in improving the sustainability of synthetic chemistry and decarbonization of the chemical industry – a point that this work directly addressed.
In this work, we extracted the relevant information about the corrosion of the cathodes from the 19th century up to the current date. This knowledge was highly dispersed as it is a phenomenon that has been for some researchers a desirable tool to create new materials such as metal nanoparticles, organometallics or modified cathodes, whereas for others, such as synthetic chemists, the cathodic corrosion has been highly undesirable. These differences in the point of views have resulted in information that was very scattered in the literature. In addition, the previous knowledge was not easily discoverable as the cathodic corrosion has not always been the main topic of these studies, often discussed only in one paragraph, few sentences or omitted altogether.

The widely dispersed information was summed up to an easily comprehendible format that was disseminated as an open access literature review.
The dissemination of this action deals with a very urgent and important topic – corrosion of metal cathodes. The review distils all aspects of this underrecognized topic to an easily understandable format and proposes some simple guidelines for the electrochemical community. Mastering the cathodic corrosion in electrolysis of organic compounds is the central key to utilize this highly sustainable synthesis method for making highly value-added compounds. Undoubtedly, better recognition of the corrosion of the cathodes will speed up electrification of synthetic processes and therefore amplify its impact on mitigating climate change.