Iodine-Catalyzed Selective Functionalization of Ethane in Oleum: Toward a Direct Process for the Production of Ethylene Glycol from Shale Gas

Bilke, M. and Zimmermann, T. and Schüth, F.

Volume: 142 Pages: 21712-21719
DOI: 10.1021/jacs.0c08975
Published: 2020

Direct valorization of ethane, a substantial component of shale gas deposits, at mild conditions remains a significant challenge, both from an industrial and an academic point of view. Herein, we report iodine as an efficient and selective catalyst for the functionalization of ethane in oleum at low temperatures and pressures. A thorough study of relevant reaction parameters revealed iodine to be remarkably more active than the previously reported "Periana/Catalytica"catalyst under optimized conditions. As a result of a fundamentally different catalytic cycle, iodine yields the bis-bisulfate ester of ethylene glycol (HO3SO-CH2-CH2-OSO3H, EBS), whereas for state-of-the-art platinum-based catalysts ethionic acid (HO3S-CH2-CH2-OSO3H, ETA) is obtained as the main product. Our findings open up an attractive route for the direct conversion of ethane toward ethylene glycol. © 2020 American Chemical Society.

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