Efficient Epoxidation of Olefins with ≥99% Selectivity and Use of Hydrogen Peroxide

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Science  09 May 2003:
Vol. 300, Issue 5621, pp. 964-966
DOI: 10.1126/science.1083176

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Epoxides are an important class of industrial chemicals that have been used as chemical intermediates. Catalytic epoxidation of olefins affords an interesting production technology. We found a widely usable green route to the production of epoxides: A silicotungstate compound, [γ-SiW10O34(H2O)2]4–, is synthesized by protonation of a divacant, lacunary, Keggin-type polyoxometalate of [γ-SiW10O36]8– and exhibits high catalytic performance for the epoxidation of various olefins, including propylene, with a hydrogen peroxide (H2O2) oxidant at 305 kelvin. The effectiveness of this catalyst is evidenced by ≥99% selectivity to epoxide, ≥99% efficiency of H2O2 utilization, high stereospecificity, and easy recovery of the catalyst from the homogeneous reaction mixture.

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