Catalytic carbonylation of acrylic acid to succinic anhydride


Alternative sources for polymeric materials have been sought in the past few years to reduce our dependence on fossil feedstock. We report the catalytic carbonylation of acrylic acid, a platform chemical that can be bio-sourced, as a new pathway toward the formation of a useful monomer to polyesters, namely succinic anhydride. The novel system reported herein tackles the difficult carbonylation of unsaturated carboxylic acids through the utilization of an Earth-abundant metal catalyst, [Co2(CO)8], in presence of a bidentate ligand, 1,2-bis(dicyclohexylphosphino)ethane (dcpe), and H2. We investigated the influence of the reaction conditions through the variations of metal, ligand, temperature, pressure, and gas composition variations. The carbonylative ring-closure of acrylic acid was successfully obtained in high yield and selectivity toward the formation of succinic anhydride using mild conditions (90 °C and 16 bar of CO/H2 95:5).


Supplementary material

Experimental details
Additional experiments, experimental procedures, GC integrations, NMR spectra.