Project: Direct Reduction of Ester to Ether
Project Description: Ethers are of great importance in industrial applications such as valuable flavors, fragrances, and surfactants. The most straightforward route for production of ethers is reduction of esters. This reaction requires expensive metal hydride reagents, suffers from low selectivity to ether, and proceeds via impractical homogeneous catalysis. In this study, we are working to develop rhenium-based heterogeneous catalysts for the selective reduction of esters to ethers using hydrogen gas. Through a combination of methods characterization and kinetic methods, we aim to determine reaction networks and reaction mechanisms for the liquid-phase reduction of esters to ether on solid catalysts and to simultaneously develop guidelines for the development of catalytic systems for the production of bio-derived ethers.