The catalysts business line of Evonik Industries and the Swiss-based company Solvias have renewed their license agreement for vanadium-doped precious metal powder catalysts for the hydrogenation of nitro compounds. Evonik will continue to market these catalysts, which were developed by Solvias, on an exclusive basis but the underlying business model has been greatly simplified.
“Anyone purchasing these catalysts from Evonik now automatically acquires the right to utilise the technology,” explains Dr. Jürgen Krauter, head of marketing at Evonik’s catalysts business line. “Additional license agreements and fees will no longer be necessary. What remains is a high-performing technology that converts even complicated nitro compounds into amines reliably and with high yields.”
The vanadium-doped precious metal powder catalysts can be used for selective hydrogenation of nitro aromatics. Their advantage compared with other catalysts is that they do not target the halogen substituents in the target molecule. That makes handling nitro compounds safer and generates fewer by-products.
For highly complex nitro aromatics Evonik offers a second form of this catalyst, which is additionally modified with hypophosphoric acid. This is used where other catalysts reach their limits: when the target molecule contains reactive components such as double and triple bonds, carbonyl groups or highly reactive oxime groups as well as halogens. Here too, the catalyst ensures selective hydrogenation of the nitro group only and thus obviates the need for time-consuming use of protective groups.
Solvias uses technology for customised process optimisation
Solvias will continue to use this technology for customised process development and optimisation. “This technology complements Solvias’ broadly based expertise in heterogeneous catalysis, which ranges from the development of heterogeneous catalysis technologies and high-pressure hydrogenation through the implementation of manufacturing processes to process development and scale-up in our GMP laboratories,” comments Dr. Stephan Haitz, head of marketing and sales at Solvias.
This Swiss company thus retains access to the entire platform of technologies for hydrogenation of nitro groups with vanadium-based catalysts. Alongside the ready-to-use vanadium-doped catalysts marketed by Evonik, this includes in-situ variants comprising platinum catalysts to which a vanadium salt is added during the reaction.