Homogeneous Catalysis for the Functionalisation of Oleochemicals
Innovative processes for manufacturing products based on renewable raw materials can make an essential contribution to making the chemical industry more sustainable and thus more future-proof. The main challenge for these bio-based products, e.g. plastics, surfactants, lubricants, plasticizers, etc., is to make them available in a similar quantity, but also the same quality as in the petrochemical-based chemical industry.
Unsaturated oleochemicals, i.e. raw materials derived from vegetable fats and oils, are very promising for the production of sustainable products in this context. Their structural properties can be exploited in a targeted manner to produce highly selective products such as bifunctional molecules as precursors for bioplastics.
The functionalisation of the C=C double bond of the unsaturated oleochemicals required for this is particularly efficient with the aid of homogeneous transition metal catalysis. A broad spectrum of possible functional groups can thus be introduced into the molecule, making new platform chemicals available for a biobased product range. The advantages of homogeneous transition metal catalysis, such as high selectivities and mild reaction conditions in homogeneous liquid phase, coupled with renewable oleochemicals, potentially lead to sustainable manufacturing processes for biobased products.
For our reviews on this topic, see:
(Seidensticker, et al., Green Chem., 2013, 15, 982–1006.)
(Seidensticker, et al. Eur. J. Lipid Sci. Technol., 2015, 118, 3–25.)