A research team from the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Mandi, led by Dr. Venkata Krishnan Associate Professor School of Basic Sciences, in collaboration with researchers from IIT Ropar, is working towards the development of environmentally safe and cost-efficient catalysts that enable industrial chemical reactions.
A catalyst is a substance which is added to accelerate the process without getting consumed. The team has recently developed a heterogeneous catalyst based on easily available carbon for hydrogenation – extensively used in the chemical industry.
The results of the work have been published in the prestigious journal Green Chemistry published by the Royal Chemical Society. The paper has been co-authored by Dr. Venkata Krishnan along with his research scholars Priyanka Choudhary, Dr. Ashish Bahuguna, and Ajay Kumar from IIT Mandi, and Dr. C. M. Nagaraja, Associate Professor department of chemistry and research scholar Sandeep Singh Dhankhar from IIT Ropar.
Telling about the research Dr Venkta Krishanan said, “We cannot overestimate the practical importance of catalysis as almost all synthetic products used today are basically industrial preparations made with the catalyst otherwise difficult reactions and help in increasing the yield and speed of rate of formation of products”.
“But this process has been causing environmental effects from industrial chemical reactions and need to develop green catalysts creating less pollution” he adds.
Researchers tell,” Hydrogenation reactions are commonly used to produce compounds such as aromatic alcohols extensively used in perfumes, pharmaceutical products, agrochemicals and fine chemicals for reaction between hydrogen gas with acids, aldehydes , ketones etc called carbonyl compounds but to avoid exposure and reduce cost these reactions make use of safe hydrogen donor chemicals .”
Presently, precious metals like rhodium, iridium, platinum and ruthenium are being used for the process which are costly and having environmental issues.
The researchers by using carbon based eco-friendly material – graphitic carbon nitrate have taken better performance as synthesis of chemical oxidation of graphic carbon nitride (GCN) nanosheets generates water loving (hydorphlic) carboxyl, hydroxyl and ketoic groups over the GCN surface.
In addition to showing good catalytic efficacy in hydrogenation reactions the team also optimized the reaction parameters and calculated green metric parameters, besides using reusing these several times. The developed protocol provides a greener, safe and cost effective approach for large scale applications in the production of the industrially relevant products.