Catalytic oxidation provides several examples of the remarkable steps made forward towards a more sustainable chemical industry: use of alternative reactants, the design of new catalysts, new reactions, and new reactor technologies. The recent developments described in this Review clearly show that better sustainabily and improved economics often go hand in hand.
This Review documents some examples of recent innovations in the field of catalytic selective oxidation from an industrial point of view. The use of alkanes as building blocks for the synthesis of bulk chemicals and intermediates is discussed, along with the main properties that catalysts should possess in order to efficiently catalyse the selective oxidation of these hydrocarbons. The currently developed processes for propene oxide and new processes under investigation for the synthesis of adipic acid are also described, highlighting innovative aspects for a better sustainability of the chemical industry.
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