Catalytic Alkane Metathesis by Tandem Alkane Dehydrogenation-Olefin Metathesis

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Science  14 Apr 2006:
Vol. 312, Issue 5771, pp. 257-261
DOI: 10.1126/science.1123787

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With petroleum supplies dwindling, there is increasing interest in selective methods for transforming other carbon feedstocks into hydrocarbons suitable for transportation fuel. We report the development of highly productive, well-defined, tandem catalytic systems for the metathesis of n-alkanes. Each system comprises one molecular catalyst (a “pincer”-ligated iridium complex) that effects alkane dehydrogenation and olefin hydrogenation, plus a second catalyst (molecular or solid-phase) for olefin metathesis. The systems all show complete selectivity for linear (n-alkane) product. We report one example that achieves selectivity with respect to the distribution of product molecular weights, in which n-decane is the predominant high-molecular-weight product of the metathesis of two moles of n-hexane.

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