A State-of-the-Art Heterogeneous Catalyst for Efficient and General Nitrile Hydrogenation

Dario Formenti, Rita Mocci, Hanan Atia, Sarim Dastgir, Muhammad Anwar, Stephan Bachmann, Michelangelo Scalone, Kathrin Junge, Matthias Beller

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

20 Scopus citations


Cobalt-doped hybrid materials consisting of metal oxides and carbon derived from chitin were prepared, characterized and tested for industrially relevant nitrile hydrogenations. The optimal catalyst supported onto MgO showed, after pyrolysis at 700 °C, magnesium oxide nanocubes decorated with carbon-enveloped Co nanoparticles. This special structure allows for the selective hydrogenation of diverse and demanding nitriles to the corresponding primary amines under mild conditions (e.g. 70 °C, 20 bar H2). The advantage of this novel catalytic material is showcased for industrially important substrates, including adipodinitrile, picolinonitrile, and fatty acid nitriles. Notably, the developed system outperformed all other tested commercial catalysts, for example, Raney Nickel and even noble-metal-based systems in these transformations.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)15589-15595
Number of pages7
JournalChemistry - A European Journal
Issue number67
StatePublished - 1 Dec 2020
Externally publishedYes


  • amines
  • cobalt
  • heterogeneous catalysis
  • hydrogenation
  • magnesium oxide


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