Selective Reduction of CO2 to CH4 by Tandem Hydrosilylation with Mixed Al/B Catalysts

J. Chen, L. Falivene, L. Caporaso, L. Cavallo, E.Y.-X. Chen,
J. Am. Chem. Soc. 138, 5321-5333, (2016)

Selective Reduction of CO2 to CH4 by Tandem Hydrosilylation with Mixed Al/B Catalysts


CO2, CH4


​This contribution reports the first example of highly selective reduction of CO2 into CH4 via tandem hydrosilylation with mixed main-group organo-Lewis acid (LA) catalysts [Al(C6F5)3 + B(C6F5)3] {[Al] + [B]}. As shown by this comprehensive experimental and computational study, in this unique tandem catalytic process, [Al] effectively mediates the first step of the overall reduction cycle, namely the fixation of CO2 into HCOOSiEt3 (1) via the LA-mediated C═O activation, while [B] is incapable of promoting the same transformation. On the other hand, [B] is shown to be an excellent catalyst for the subsequent reduction steps 2–4, namely the hydrosilylation of the more basic intermediates [1 to H2C(OSiEt3)2 (2) to H3COSiEt3 (3) and finally to CH4] through the frustrated Lewis pair (FLP)-type Si–H activation. Hence, with the required combination of [Al] and [B], a highly selective hydrosilylative reduction of CO2 system has been developed, achieving high CH4 production yield up to 94%. The remarkably different catalytic behaviors between [Al] and [B] are attributed to the higher overall Lewis acidity of [Al] derived from two conflicting factors (electronic and steric effects), which renders the higher tendency of [Al] to form stable [Al]–substrate (intermediate) adducts with CO2 as well as subsequent intermediates 1, 2, and 3. Overall, the roles of [Al] and [B] are not only complementary but also synergistic in the total reduction of CO2, which render both [Al]-mediated first reduction step and [B]-mediated subsequent steps catalytic.


DOI: 10.1021/jacs.6b01497


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