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Catalytic Disproportionation of Formic Acid to Generate Methanol


  • We gratefully acknowledge funding from the Camille and Henry Dreyfus Postdoctoral Program in Environmental Chemistry and the NSF Center for Enabling New Technologies Through Catalysis (CENTC), CHE-0650456 and CHE-1205189. K.I.G. thanks the Weizmann Institute of Science for a Joseph Meyerhoff Visiting Professorship.


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The homogeneously catalyzed disproportionation of formic acid to methanol, water, and carbon dioxide is accomplished by only 10 ppm of a readily accessible iridium catalyst, [Cp*Ir(bpy)(H2O)]2+ (Cp*=pentamethylcyclopentadienyl, bpy=2,2′-bipyridine). Methanol is produced under mild, aqueous conditions, without the use of any organic solvents or hydrogen gas.