Electrification of a Milstein-type Catalyst for Alcohol Reformation



Novel energy and atom efficiency processes will be keys to develop the sustainable chemical industry of the future. Electrification could play an important role, by allowing to fine-tune energy input and using the ideal redox agent: the electron. Here we demonstrate that a commercially available Milstein ruthenium cata-lyst (1) can be used to promote the electrochemical oxidation of ethanol to ethyl acetate and acetate, thus demonstrating the four electron oxidation under preparative conditions. Cyclic voltammetry and DFT-calculations are used to devise a possible catalytic cycle based on a thermal chemical step generating the key hydride intermediate. Successful electrification of Milstein-type catalysts opens pathway to use alcohols as renewable feedstock for the generation of esters and other key building blocks in organic chemistry, thus contributing to increase energy efficiency in organic redox chemistry.


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Supplementary material

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Supplementary Information for: Electrification of a Milstein-type Catalyst for Alcohol Reformation
Supplementary Information including additional CV data, characterization of proposed intermediats, CPE data, as well as DFT data (pKa, BDFE and transition states).