Journal article

Efficient Dehydrogenation of Formic Acid Using an Iron Catalyst

Hydrogen is one of the essential reactants in the chemical industry, though its generation from renewable sources and storage in a safe and reversible manner remain challenging. Formic acid (HCO2H or FA) is a promising source and storage material in this respect. Here, we present a highly active iron catalyst system for the liberation of H2 from FA. Applying 0.005 mole percent of Fe(BF4)2·6H2O and tris[(2-diphenylphosphino)ethyl]phosphine [P(CH2CH2PPh2)3, PP3] to a solution of FA in environmentally benign propylene carbonate, with no further additives or base, affords turnover frequencies up to 9425 per hour and a turnover number of more than 92,000 at 80°C. We used in situ nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy, kinetic studies, and density functional theory calculations to explain possible reaction mechanisms.


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