University of Cambridge Background
Bis-indenes are widely used in chemical synthesis, not least for their use as ligands for metallocene mediated polymerization of olefins. The use of these simple catalysts gives high levels of control and specificity that has enabled the widespread use of polymers in modern society. However, the synthesis of the ligands has long relied on inefficient and dangerous processes that require specialist equipment and controlled conditions, and this solution has the potential to change this.
A University of Cambridge research team, with input from supply chain stakeholders, has developed a novel synthesis route to cyclopentadienyl compounds that eliminates the use of dangerous reagents all while improving process yields. Furthermore, they have developed a simple separation technique for the chiral metallocene catalysts used in polymer synthesis that enables further yield and efficiency savings.
Reduction in production cost of polymer synthesis
Decrease in use of specialised equipment
Faster extraction of chiral metallocene catalysts
Increased process reliability
Allows butyl lithium free synthesis route to cyclopentadiene compounds
Gives increased yield over current industrial synthesis routes
No need for dried solvents in synthesis
The principal users of this technology are chemical companies that make, or have manufactured, metallocene catalysts to produce olefin polymers.
Olefin polymers account for 46% of worldwide polymer production, of which a significant proportion employ cyclopentadienyl catalysts. This new synthesis route will give a metallocene or ligand supplier a distinct competitive advantage in the marketplace, allowing for more efficient and safer production at a much lower cost.