Chemoselective Hydrogenolysis of Urethanes to Formamides and Alcohols in the Presence of More Electrophilic Carbonyl Compounds

15 May 2024, Version 1
This content is a preprint and has not undergone peer review at the time of posting.


The development of methods for the chemical recycling of polyurethanes is recognized as an urgent issue. Herein, we report the Ir-catalyzed hydrogenolysis of the urethane C–O bond to produce formamides and alcohols, where both formamides and ester and amide functionalities are tolerated. The chemoselectivity observed is counterintuitive to the generally accepted electrophilicity order of carbonyl compounds. Hydrogenolysis of urea and isocyanurate, potential byproducts in the polycondensation process of polyurethanes, is achieved alongside the selective degradation of polyurethanes themselves, which affords diformamides and diols. The present catalysis offers a novel method for the recycling of polyurethane-containing polymer waste.


Chemical recycling

Supplementary materials

Supporting Information
Detailed condition screening, functional group tolerance toward carbonyl compounds, X-ray crystallographic data, experimental details, experimental procedures, and spectroscopic data.


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