You are here

The Science is in the Synergy

An ingenious method of putting copper and iron in the same nanoparticle has led to a powerful new catalyst that converts waste feedstocks into valuable fatty alcohols.  Studying how inexpensive metal proximity impacts reactivity, researchers synthesized a catalyst by baking copper and iron salts into the pores of a nanoparticle.  In this case, the proximity of the two metals leads to extraordinarily synergistic behavior and researchers observed a 99% conversion of fatty acids into fatty alcohols compared to a mere 8% conversion rate when the same oxides were on separate particles!  While typically made of expensive noble metals and requiring high pressure and high temperatures, this new catalyst instead uses readily available and inexpensive metals and functions under much milder conditions (lower temperature and pressure) to achieve its great results. The copper-iron oxide composite catalyst can be a cheap and viable alternative for producing fatty alcohols, used in a wide variety of products including lubricants and cosmetics, from biorenewable feedstocks.

The proximity of the two metals leads to extraordinarily synergistic behavior and researchers observed a 99% conversion of fatty acids into fatty alcohols compared to a mere 8% conversion rate when the same oxides were on separate particles.

Highlight Date: 
Tuesday, December 1, 2015
Article Title: 

Synergistic Interaction between Oxides of Copper and Iron for Production of Fatty Alcohols from Fatty Acids

Author(s): 
K. Kandel, U. Chaudhary, N. C. Nelson, and I. I. Slowing
Article Link: 
Journal Name: 
ACS Catalysis
Volume: 
5
Year: 
2015
Page Number(s): 
6719