Functionalization of alkanes is much sought after for the production of fine and bulk chemicals. In particular, the oxidative activation of alkanes and their conversion to ethene and propene has been studied extensively, owing to the use of these alkenes in polymerization reactions. The greater reactivity of the products in comparison with the reactants has proven a major issue in this reaction as this can result in overoxidation, producing CO and CO2 and, therefore, reducing the alkene yield. Herein, the first application of supported gold catalysts for the direct activation of C2+ aliphatic alkanes with oxygen to form alkenes is demonstrated. This catalyst is particularly notable as it is highly active, selective to propene and ethene, and stable on stream over a 48 h period. Maintaining cationic gold is thought to be critical for the stability and this catalyst design provides the possibility of applying gold-based catalysts over a much wider temperature range than has been reported.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Inorganic Chemistry
- Organic Chemistry
- Physical and Theoretical Chemistry