MPI: “Auto-tandem catalytic reductive hydroformylation with continuous multiphase catalyst recycling”

Written by Sebastian Püschel, Enes Hammami, Thorsten Rösler, Kira R. Ehmann, Andreas J. Vorholt and Walter Leitner.


The production of alcohols from olefin-enriched Fischer–Tropsch products represents a promising route for CO2-neutral bio-synthetic fuels. Tandem-catalytic systems as alternatives for the conventional two-step production of long-chain alcohols are attractive in terms of energy and resource efficiency. Herein, we present the first rhodium-based catalytic system capable of direct conversion of olefins to alcohols in a biphasic liquid/liquid system. After optimizing the reaction conditions for the biphasic operation, an alcohol selectivity of up to 64% was achieved, while aldehydes and olefin isomers were observed as main by-products. By employing water-soluble alkanolamines, the catalyst is immobilized in a water phase and can be easily separated from the product containing an organic phase with a rhodium loss of as low as 0.1%. After investigation of various reaction parameters, a TON of 128 in batch operation was achieved. Furthermore, the developed catalyst recycling strategy was implemented in a continuously operated miniplant, reaching a TTON for alcohol production of 1236 after 50 hours.