Tungsten-based polyoxometalates have been identified as ideal catalysts for epoxidation of alkenes, particularly since the corresponding reaction utilises H2O2 as the oxidant where only water is produced as the by-product. In order for this catalytic approach to be useful for industrial scale-up, the catalyst must be able to be separated from the products and recycled – heterogeneous catalysis being one route to achieve this.
In their recent HOT Catalysis Science & Technology article, Jean-Marc Clacens and his team describe how the tungsten POMs can be encapsulated within mesoporous silica (SBA-15) to effect the epoxidation of styrene and methyl oleate in solvent-free conditions. By grafting octyl groups onto the surface at the pore entrances, they ensured that the POM species did not leach from the silica, enabling re-use of the catalyst.
Clacen’s method is sure to inspire further research for developing green syntheses of such synthetically valuable epoxide molecules.
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Catalytic epoxidation of styrene and methyl oleate over peroxophosphotungstate entrapped in mesoporous SBA-15
Evelyne Poli, Rodolphe De Sousa, François Jérome, Yannick Pouilloux and Jean-Marc Clacens
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