Borenium Ionic Liquids as Alternative to BF3 in Polyalphaolefins (PAOs) Synthesis

James M. Hogg, Albert Ferrer-Ugalde, Fergal Coleman, Małgorzata Swadźba-Kwaśny*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Citations (Scopus)
334 Downloads (Pure)


Lewis superacidic borenium ionic liquids of the general formula [BCl2(L)][MnCl3n+1] (L = pyridine or picoline, n = 1 or 2) were used as catalysts for the oligomerization of 1-decene to polyalphaolefins (PAOs), as a safer alternative to the conventional BF3 catalyst, which is a toxic and corrosive gas. The catalytic activity of the borenium system could be tuned by modifying the ligand on the borenium cation, the chlorometallate anion, and the reaction temperature. Following the optimization of the reaction conditions on a small scale, the reaction was scaled up to 3 L. Following fractional distillation of the crude product and blending, lubricant base oils matching market specifications (viscosity index, pour point) for PAO4 and PAO6 grades were obtained. Synthesized from inexpensive, off-the-shelf components, borenium ionic liquids are a new, cost-effective alternative to BF3, offering substantial gains in process safety and CAPEX savings.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)15044-15052
Number of pages9
JournalACS Sustainable Chemistry and Engineering
Issue number17
Publication statusPublished - 03 Sep 2019


  • 1-decene
  • borenium
  • carbocationic oligomerization
  • ionic liquids
  • Lewis acids
  • polyalphaolefins (PAOs)

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Chemistry(all)
  • Environmental Chemistry
  • Chemical Engineering(all)
  • Renewable Energy, Sustainability and the Environment


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