Highly efficient N-heterocyclic carbene/ruthenium catalytic systems for the acceptorless dehydrogenation of alcohols to carboxylic acids: Effects of ancillary and additional ligands

Wan Qiang Wang, Hua Cheng, Ye Yuan, Yu Qing He, Hua Jing Wang, Zhi Qin Wang, Wei Sang, Cheng Chen, Francis Verpoort

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


The transition-metal-catalyzed alcohol dehydrogenation to carboxylic acids has been identified as an atom-economical and attractive process. Among various catalytic systems, Ru-based systems have been the most accessed and investigated ones. With our growing interest in the discovery of new Ru catalysts comprising N-heterocyclic carbene (NHC) ligands for the dehydrogenative reactions of alcohols, we designed and prepared five NHC/Ru complexes ([Ru]-1–[Ru]-5) bearing different ancillary NHC ligands. Moreover, the effects of ancillary and additional ligands on the alcohol dehydrogenation with KOH were thoroughly explored, followed by the screening of other parameters. Accordingly, a highly active catalytic system, which is composed of [Ru]-5 combined with an additional NHC precursor L5, was discovered, affording a variety of acid products in a highly efficient manner. Gratifyingly, an extremely low Ru loading (125 ppm) and the maximum TOF value until now (4800) were obtained.

Original languageEnglish
Article number10
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2020



  • Additional ligands
  • Ancillary ligands
  • Carboxylic acids
  • N-heterocyclic carbenes (NHCs)
  • Ruthenium (Ru)

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Catalysis
  • Physical and Theoretical Chemistry

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