From Esters to Alcohols and Back with Ruthenium and Osmium Catalysts


  • We are grateful to the NSERC of Canada and the SHARCNET facilities ( for their support of this work.


original image

There and back again: Hydrogenation of esters and the reverse reaction of dehydrogenative coupling of alcohols are efficiently catalyzed by dimeric complexes of Ru and Os under neutral conditions. The Os dimer (see picture) is an outstanding catalyst for the hydrogenation of alkenoates and triglycerides, and allows production of fatty alcohols from olive oil. This complex converts ethanol into ethyl acetate and hydrogen under reflux.