Journal of Catalysis

The enantioselectivity of the manganese-salen complex in the epoxidation of unfunctionalized olefins and the influence of grafting

T. Bogaerts, S. Wouters, P. Van der Voort, V. Van Speybroeck
Journal of Catalysis
2014
A1

Abstract 

Jacobsen’s complexes are famous for their capability in the epoxidation of unfunctionalized olefins with high enantioselectivities. However, the applicability of this catalytic system has been severely limited by several practical problems such as deactivation and separation after reaction. Grafting of Jacobsen-type complexes on solid supports are attractive to overcome these problems but led to a decrease in selectivity. Herein a combined theoretical and experimental approach is used to unravel the detailed factors governing the selectivity. Advanced molecular modeling techniques on the full catalytic systems are used to find the mechanism behind the selectivity. The importance of the C3 and C5 substituents was determined by analyzing transition states for various approaches during the oxygen transfer. An analysis of the asymmetric complex, that is often used in a grafting approach, has shown an inherent tendency to a decreased selectivity due to the lack of specific bulky groups. Experimentally an immobilized Jacobsen catalyst on a metal organic framework (MIL101) was synthesized which confirms the computational tendencies but the decrease in selectivity is limited, indicating that the MIL-101(Cr) is a suitable carrier for this complex.

Metal-dioxidoterephthalate MOFs of the MOF-74 type: microporous basic catalysts with well-defined active sites

P. Valvekens, M. Vandichel, M. Waroquier, V. Van Speybroeck, D. De Vos
Journal of Catalysis
317, 1–10
2014
A1

Abstract 

The hybrid frameworks M2dobdc (dobdc4− = 2,5-dioxidoterephthalate, M2+ = Mg2+, Co2+, Ni2+, Cu2+ and Zn2+), commonly known as CPO-27 or MOF-74, are shown to be active catalysts in base-catalyzed reactions such as Knoevenagel condensations or Michael additions. Rather than utilizing N-functionalized linkers as a source of basicity, the intrinsic basicity of these materials arises from the presence of the phenolate oxygen atoms coordinated to the metal ions. The overall activity is due to a complex interplay of the basic properties of these structural phenolates and the reactant binding characteristics of the coordinatively unsaturated sites. The nature of the active site and the order of activity between the different M2dobdc materials were rationalized via computational efforts; the most active material, both in theory and in experiment, is the Ni-containing variant. The basicity of Ni2dobdc was experimentally proven by chemisorption of pyrrole and observation by IR spectroscopy.

Insight in the activity and diastereoselectivity of various Lewis acid catalysts for the citronellal cyclization

M. Vandichel, F. Vermoortele, S. Cottenie, D. De Vos, M. Waroquier, V. Van Speybroeck
Journal of Catalysis
305, 118-129
2013
A1

Abstract 

Industrial (-)-menthol production generally relies on the hydrogenation of (-)-isopulegol, which is in turn produced with high selectivity by cyclization of (+)-citronellal. This paper uses a combined theoretical and experimental approach to study the activity and selectivity of three Lewis acid catalysts for this reaction, namely ZnBr2, aluminum tris(2,6-diphenylphenoxide) (ATPH) and the heterogeneous metal-organic framework Cu3BTC2 (BTC = benzene-1,3,5-tricarboxylate). ATPH is a strong Lewis acid homogeneous catalyst with bulky ligands which provides very high selectivities for the desired stereo-isomer (> 99 %). The performance of the catalysts was evaluated as a function of temperature, which revealed that higher catalyst activity allows working at lower temperatures and improves the selectivity for isopulegol. The selectivity distribution is kinetically driven for ZnBr2 and ATPH. The theoretical selectivity distributions rely on the determination of an extensive set of diastereomeric transition states, for which the differences in free energy have been calculated using a complementary set of ab initio techniques. Given the sensitivity of the selectivity to small Gibbs free energy differences, the agreement between experimental and theoretical selectivities is satisfactory. On basis of the obtained insights rational design of new catalysts may be obtained. As proof of concept, the hypothetical Cu3(BTC-(NO2)3)2 Lewis catalyst – in which each phenyl hydrogen of the BTC ligand is replaced by a nitro group - is predicted to be very selective.

Open Access version available at UGent repository

Complete low-barrier side-chain route for olefin formation during methanol conversion in H-SAPO-34

K. De Wispelaere, K. Hemelsoet, M. Waroquier, V. Van Speybroeck
Journal of Catalysis
305, 76-80
2013
A1

Abstract 

The methanol to olefins process is an alternative for oil-based production of ethene and propene. However, detailed information on the reaction mechanisms of olefin formation in different zeolite is lacking. Herein a first principle kinetic study allows elucidating the importance of a side-chain mechanism during methanol conversion in H-SAPO-34. Starting from the experimentally observed hexamethylbenzene, a full low-barrier catalytic cycle for ethene and propene formation is found. The olefin elimination steps exhibit low free energy barriers due to a subtle interplay between an sp3 carbon center of the organic intermediate, stabilizing non-bonding interactions and assisting water molecules in the zeolite material.

Open Access version available at UGent repository

Methylation of benzene by methanol: single-site kinetics over H-ZSM-5 and H-beta zeolite catalysts

J. Van der Mynsbrugge, M. Visur, U. Olsbye, P. Beato, M. Bjørgen, V. Van Speybroeck, S. Svelle
Journal of Catalysis
292, 201-212
2012
A1

Abstract 

Benzenemethylation by methanol is studied on acidic zeolitesH-ZSM-5 (MFI) and H-beta (BEA) to investigate the influence of the catalyst topology on the reaction rate. Experimental kinetic measurements at 350 °C using extremely high feed rates to suppress side reactions show that methylation occurs considerably faster on H-ZSM-5 than on H-beta. Theoretical rate constants, obtained from first-principles simulations on extended zeolite clusters, reproduce a higher methylation rate on H-ZSM-5 and provide additional insight into the various molecular effects that contribute to the overall differences between the two catalysts. The calculations indicate this higher methylation rate is primarily due to an optimal confinement of the reacting species in the medium pore material. Co-adsorption of methanol and benzene is energetically favored in H-ZSM-5 compared with H-beta, to the extent that the stabilizing host–guest interactions outweigh the greater entropy loss upon benzene adsorption in H-ZSM-5 vs. in H-beta.

Open Access version available at UGent repository

Mechanistic insight into the cyclohexene epoxidation with VO(acac)(2) and tert-butyl hydroperoxide

M. Vandichel, K. Leus, P. Van der Voort, M. Waroquier, V. Van Speybroeck
Journal of Catalysis
294, 1-18
2012
A1

Abstract 

The epoxidation reaction of cyclohexene is investigated for the catalytic system vanadyl acetylacetonate (VO(acac)2) with tert-butyl hydroperoxide (TBHP) as oxidant with the aim to identify the most active species for epoxidation and to retrieve insight into the most plausible epoxidation mechanism. The reaction mixture is composed of various inactive and active complexes in which vanadium may either have oxidation state +IV or +V. Inactive species are activated with TBHP to form active complexes. After reaction with cyclohexene, each active species transforms back into an inactive complex that may be reactivated again. The reaction mixture is quite complex containing hydroxyl, acetyl acetonate, acetate, or a tert-butoxide anion as ligands, and thus, various ligand exchange reactions may occur among active and inactive complexes. Also, radical decomposition reactions allow transforming V+IV to V+V species. To obtain insight into the most abundant active complexes, each of previous transformation steps has been modeled through thermodynamic equilibrium steps. To unravel the nature of the most plausible epoxidation mechanism, first principle chemical kinetics calculations have been performed on all proposed epoxidation pathways. Our results allow to conclude that the concerted Sharpless mechanism is the preferred reaction mechanism and that alkylperoxo species V+IVO(L)(OOtBu) and V+VO(L1)(L2)(OOtBu) species are most abundant. At the onset of the catalytic cycle, vanadium +IV species may play an active role, but as the reaction proceeds, reaction mechanisms that involve vanadium +V species are preferred as the acetyl acetonate is readily oxidized. Additionally, an experimental IR and kinetic study has been performed to give a qualitative composition of the reaction mixture and to obtain experimental kinetic data for comparison with our theoretical values. The agreement between theory and experiment is satisfactory.

Open Access version available at UGent repository

Assembly of cyclic hydrocarbons from ethene and propene in acid zeolite catalysis to produce active catalytic sites for MTO conversion

M. Vandichel, D. Lesthaeghe, J. Van der Mynsbrugge, M. Waroquier, V. Van Speybroeck
Journal of Catalysis
271 (1), 67-78
2010
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Abstract 

The formation of cyclic hydrocarbons from smaller building blocks such as ethene and propene is investigated in protonated ZSM-5, using a 2-layered ONIOM(B3LYP/6-31+g(d):HF/6-31+g(d)) approach and an additional Grimme-type van der Waals dispersion correction term to account for the long-range dispersion interactions. These cyclic species form precursors for active hydrocarbon pool species and play a key role in activating the acidic zeolite host for successful methanol-to-olefin (MTO) conversion. Starting from trace amounts of ethene and propene that are formed during an initial induction period or during the active phase, dimerization reactions allow for rapid chain growth. The products of these reactions can be neutral alkenes, framework-bound alkoxide species or intermediate carbenium ions, depending on the zeolite environment taken into account. On the basis of rate constants for successive reaction steps, a viable route toward cyclization is proposed, which starts from the formation of a framework-bound propoxide from propene, followed by dimerization with an additional propene molecule to form the 2-hexyl carbenium ion which finally undergoes ring closure to yield methylcyclopentane. This cyclic species in turn forms a precursor for either an active hydrocarbon pool compound or for deactivating coke deposit.

Open Access version available at UGent repository

The coordinatively saturated vanadium MIL-47 as a low leaching heterogeneous catalyst in the oxidation of cyclohexene

K. Leus, M. Vandichel, Y-Y Liu, I. Muylaert, J. Musschoot, H. Vrielinck, F. Callens, G.B. Marin, C. Detavernier, Y.Z. Khimyak, M. Waroquier, V. Van Speybroeck, P. Van der Voort
Journal of Catalysis
285 (1) 196-207
2012
A1

Abstract 

A Metal Organic Framework, containing coordinatively saturated V+IV sites linked together by terephthalic linkers (V-MIL-47), is evaluated as a catalyst in the epoxidation of cyclohexene. Different solvents and conditions are tested and compared. If the oxidant TBHP is dissolved in water, a significant leaching of V-species into the solution is observed, and also radical pathways are prominently operative leading to the formation of an adduct between the peroxide and cyclohexene. If, however, the oxidant is dissolved in decane, leaching is negligible and the structural integrity of the V-MIL-47 is maintained during successive runs. The selectivity toward the epoxide is very high in these circumstances. Extensive computational modeling is performed to show that several reaction cycles are possible. EPR and NMR measurements confirm that at least two parallel catalytic cycles are co-existing: one with V+IV sites and one with pre-oxidized V+V sites, and this is in complete agreement with the theoretical predictions.

Open Access version available at UGent repository
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