Research ArticleChemistry

Self-supported hydrogenolysis of aromatic ethers to arenes

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Science Advances  22 Nov 2019:
Vol. 5, no. 11, eaax6839
DOI: 10.1126/sciadv.aax6839


Arenes are widely used chemicals and essential components in liquid fuels, which are currently produced from fossil feedstocks. Here, we proposed the self-supported hydrogenolysis (SSH) of aromatic ethers to produce arenes using the hydrogen source within the reactants, and it was found that RuW alloy nanoparticles were very efficient catalyst for the reactions. This route is very attractive and distinguished from the reported studies on the cleavage of the CAr─O bonds. The unique feature of this methodology is that exogenous hydrogen or other reductant is not required, and hydrogenation of aromatic rings could be avoided completely. The selectivities to arenes could reach >99.9% at complete conversion of the ethers. Moreover, lignin could also be transformed into arenes efficiently over the RuW alloy catalyst. The mechanism studies showed that the neighboring Ru and W species in the RuW alloy nanoparticles worked synergistically to accelerate the SSH reaction.

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