Yale scientists develop cheaper chemical catalysts

May 26, 2015

Researchers at Yale University have developed new, less expensive chemical catalysts for producing industrial chemicals.

Researchers at Yale University have developed new, less expensive chemical catalysts for producing industrial chemicals.

The new catalysts based on palladium are expected to lower costs and boost sustainability in the production of chemical compounds used by a number of industries.

The system developed by Yale University chemists creates an improved chemical infrastructure upon which catalysis can take place. This means that less palladium — a rare and expensive metal — is necessary to produce chemical compounds used in pharmaceuticals, plastics, agrochemicals and other industries.

Details of the new technology are given in an article published in the journal ACS Catalysis.

"We have developed an improved system that is less prone to deactivation," explained Nilay Hazari, an associate professor of chemistry at Yale and co-author of the study. "It should make the preparation of many industrially relevant compounds more economical and sustainable and may lead to new methods to prepare important compounds."

The discovery builds upon previous work by Hazari's group that identified problems, primarily related to deactivation of the catalyst, in another system for palladium catalysis, Yale University said.

The new catalysts are already available commercially from several chemical companies.

The first author of the study was Patrick Melvin, a graduate student in chemistry at Yale. Other authors were Wei Dai, Damian Hruszkewycz and Hemali Shah, all of Yale; Ainara Nova and David Balcells, of the University of Oslo; and Matthew Tudge, of Merck Research Laboratories.

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