The direct α-alkylation of ketones with alcohols has emerged as a new green protocol to construct CC bonds with H2O as the sole byproduct. In this work, a very simple and convenient Pd/C catalytic system for the direct α-alkylation of ketones with primary alcohols in pure water is developed. Based on this catalytic system, aqueous mixtures of dilute acetone, 1-butanol, and ethanol (mimicking ABE fermentation products) can be directly transformed into C5–C11 or longer-chain ketones and alcohols, which are precursors to fuels.
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