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Catalytic Transfer Hydrogenation of CO2 to Potassium Formate using Glycerol as a Hydrogen Source

Technology #017-053-voutchkova

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Adelina Voutchkova-Kostal, Assistant Professor of Chemistry,
Research Interests include catalysis, green chemistry, and Organometallic Chemistry
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Matthew Thomas Finn
Ph.D. student at George Washington University. He is working under Prof. Voutchkova-Kostal.
Jacob Mark Heltzel, Post Doc Researcher
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Jerry Comanescu
Licensing Associate (202) 994-8975
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Provisional Patent Application Filed
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Voutchkova 017-053 [PDF]

To simultaneously transform COand glycerol, two low-value by-products, into formate and lactate can be highly economically attractive. Presently, however, it is challenging to achieve the reaction on an industrial scale.

GW researchers developed novel single-site supported heterogeneous catalysts that can simultaneously convert COand glycerol into formate and lactate under batch or continuous flow conditions. The novel single-site supported heterogeneous catalysts consist of Ir or Ru N-heterocyclic carbene (NHC) that are functionalized with sulfonates. In addition, synthetic hydrotalcite can be used as a non-inert supporting structure to these Ir or Ru based catalysts.  

To date, GW researchers are the first to convert COinto formate under a CO2–glycerol continuously flow system. Compared with previous processes, this new discovery generates less low-value by-products and has a higher activity. Initial research results are promising for scale-up synthesis competitive with existing industrial productions of formate and lactate.

Applications: simultaneously covert COand glycerol into high value formate and lactate.


· Simultaneously conversion

· First to achieve COtransfer hydrogenation in a gas-liquid flow system

· High potential for industrial-scale continuous process

· Occurs at a lower temperature and pressure than previous processes, thus safer and more economical  

· Reduce greenhouse emissions