Renewable Nylons

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Science  09 May 2003:
Vol. 300, Issue 5621, pp. 867
DOI: 10.1126/science.300.5621.867a

Many efforts aimed at improving the environmental friendliness of a chemical process tend to focus on minimizing unwanted side products or solvent use, or on replacing a fossil fuel-based material with a different one based on a renewable feedstock. Thomas et al. now report on a catalytic method for producing a key intermediate that allows the same product, in this case nylon, to be made from renewable sources. Adipic acid is widely used in the production of nylon and is usually produced from fossil fuel-derived benzene. Thomas et al. used muconic acid, which can be derived from glucose, as the starting material. Their catalysts consisted of bimetallic clusters anchored in the pores of mesoporous silica. A Pt10Ru2 composition was more selective than several other bimetallic clusters and was also superior to monometallic Pt and Rh catalysts. Bimetallic catalysts of this kind may also be useful for other environmentally friendly hydrogenation reactions.—JFU

Chem. Commun. 10.1039/b300203a (2003).

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