Carbon Dioxide as a Raw Material: The Synthesis of Formic Acid and Its Derivatives from CO2


  • Dedicated to Professor Henri Brunner on the occasion of his 60th birthday


The use of carbon dioxide as a raw material for chemical syntheses is an ecologically and economically valuable extension to the carbon sources used at the present time. In order to convert the thermodynamically stable and comparatively unreactive CO2 molecule into the desired product in an efficient manner, suitable reaction conditions and activation mechanisms must be found. The catalytic reduction of CO2 to formic acid and its derivatives has been intensively studied in recent years. A number of new approaches to the synthesis of formic acid from CO2 have reached such a state of knowledge that continuing development may well lead to industrial-scale operation in the near future. This can to a large extent be attributed to the fruitful interaction between investigative work into reaction mechanisms and the development of new catalytic systems.