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A renewable, green oxidation catalyst

By Tetsuo Satoh |

Scientists from the National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology (AIST; Tsukuba, Japan; www.aist.go.jp), in collaboration with Tokyo University of Science and Panchakot Mahavidyalaya University, have demonstrated that a nickel-complex-type organic nanotube (Ni-ONT), developed by AIST, can catalyze oxidation reactions for producing industrial chemicals. For example, the researchers have demonstrated that Ni-ONT dispersed in aqueous hydrogen peroxide catalyzes oxidation reactions at room temperature, producing 2,3,6-trimethylphenol (TMP); trimethylquinone (TMQ; an intermediate for making vitamin E); benzophenone (an ultraviolet absorbing agent); tetralone (an agrochemical intermediate); and epoxides (for photo-curing of resins). A selectivity of more than 90% was achieved for TMQ, and a 55–60% selectivity for TMP. The Ni-ONT did not lose its activity after at least five cycles with recycled catalysts. Unlike traditional oxidation reactions, which use heavy metal catalysts, organic peroxides or high temperatures, those carried out with Ni-ONT occur at room temperature with hydrogen peroxide, without producing hazardous or halogenated wastes. Ni-ONT is also a solid in aqueous solutions, so it can be simply filtered…
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