A Highly Active Cobalt Catalyst for the General and Selective Hydrogenation of Aromatic Heterocycles

Nanostructured earth abundant metal catalysts that mediate important chemical reactions with high efficiency and selectivity are of great interest. This study introduces a synthesis protocol for nanostructured earth abundant metal catalysts. Three components, an inexpensive metal precursor, an easy to synthesize N/C precursor, and a porous support material undergo pyrolysis to give the catalyst material in a simple, single synthesis step. By applying this catalyst synthesis, a highly active cobalt catalyst for the general and selective hydrogenation of aromatic heterocycles could be generated. The reaction is important with regard to organic synthesis and hydrogen storage. The mild reaction conditions observed for quinolines permit the selective hydrogenation of numerous classes of N-, O- and S-heterocyclic compounds such as: quinoxalines, pyridines, pyrroles, indoles, isoquinoline, aciridine amine, phenanthroline, benzofuranes, and benzothiophenes.