Environment & Engineering

Clean Catalytic Synthesis for Styrene Production

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Styrene is a derivative of benzene, a colourless liquid used to make plastics, resins, nylon and synthetic fibres. The way that styrene is made today follows three catalytic steps through the Friedel-Crafts alkylation reaction. However, the first two steps involve using a particularly toxic reagent, which is not only expensive but also produces excessive waste.

Researchers at Te Herenga Waka—Victoria University of Wellington have developed a new cost-effective process, transforming the first two steps of the styrene pathway into a one catalytic reaction. No toxic products need to be used, meaning production is more environmentally friendly than current measures and can be made at a significantly lower cost.

Features and Benefits (easier, faster, greener)

Easier and faster way of producing styrene

Combining the first two steps to make styrene means that it is a lot easier and faster to produce.

Wide variety of uses

Transforming the first two steps into a single catalytic reaction is a vital transformation in both an academic and industrial context, providing access to a wide variety of intermediate compounds, fine chemicals and feedstocks.

More environmentally friendly

This method is by-product free and the starting materials are generally cheaper and more readily available.

Paul G
Paul Geraghty

Senior Commercialisation Manager

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