On the Way Towards Greener Transition-Metal-Catalyzed Processes as Quantified by E Factors



Transition-metal-catalyzed carbon–carbon and carbon–heteroatom bond formations are among the most heavily used types of reactions in both academic and industrial settings. As important as these are to the synthetic community, such cross-couplings come with a heavy price to our environment, and sustainability. E Factors are one measure of waste created, and organic solvents, by far, are the main contributors to the high values associated, in particular, with the pharmaceutical and fine-chemical companies which utilize these reactions. An alternative to organic solvents in which cross-couplings are run can be found in the form of micellar catalysis, wherein nanoparticles composed of newly introduced designer surfactants enable the same cross-couplings, albeit in water, with most taking place at room temperature. In the absence of an organic solvent as the reaction medium, organic waste and hence, E Factors, drop dramatically.