The tremendous demand for 1,4-butynediol (further hydrogenated to 1,4-butanediol), produced from Reppe Ethynylation, as an important C4 feedstock to synthesize highly value-added downstream chemicals, has recently gained great interest in the industry. The by-product from the same process, propargyl alcohol, is also anticipated to show robust growth in next years due to its applications in agricultural, automobile and coating industries.
The structurally complex and explosive copper acetylide, Cu2C2, was accepted as the active species in catalytic Reppe ethynylation literature for more than six decades. It has been investigated in detail and finally experimentally proven by our research group recently. This was based on Raman, XRD, ICP-OES, and TG-MS investigations.
The ongoing studies to further bridge the gap between the pre-catalyst and the active species, include
- a safety protocol for handling and characterizing the highly explosive species,
- the activation mechanism of copper-based catalysts,
- the identification of structure-activity relationships,
- the synthesis of a next generation of catalysts and
- the optimization of the reaction parameter.
The project is financially supported by MuniCat, the alliance of Clariant and TUM in the field of catalysis.