A one-component iron catalyst for cyclic propylene carbonate synthesis

Joachim E. Dengler, Maximilian W. Lehenmeier, Stephan Klaus, Carly E. Anderson, Eberhardt Herdtweck, Bernhard Rieger

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The development of a new tetraamine-iron complex as a catalyst for the cyclization of propylene oxide with carbon dioxide to form propylene carbonate is reported. The structure of the complex was confirmed by X-ray crystallography. The molecule exhibited an exceptionally long iron-chlorine bond and a high catalytic activity even without the addition of an activator. However, kinetic studies showed a second-order dependence on catalyst concentration. By using iron, we provide an ecologically as well as economically favourable alternative to the preferentially used toxic metals cobalt and chromium. On the basis of the kinetics and other experimental data, the catalytic cycle deduced as well as an understanding of the high activities. Carbon dioxide can be used as a C1 feedstock in several reactions. The iron compound presented herein catalyses the cyclization of epoxides with CO2. The iron-basedcatalyst represents an economic and ecological alternative to commonly used cobalt or aluminium compounds.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)336-343
Number of pages8
JournalEuropean Journal of Inorganic Chemistry
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jan 2011


  • Carbon dioxide fixation
  • Cyclic carbonates
  • Epoxides
  • Homogeneous catalysis
  • Iron


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