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A Spanish university research group has applied for a patent related to a catalytic method for the synthesis of mesitylene (1,3,5-trimethylbenzene) from acetone by condensation-dehydrocycling reactions. The proposed method is competitive, presents great selectivity and is environmetally sustainable. Companies in the in the chemical, pharmaceutical and energy fields are sought to develop applications of the described invention under license agreements.
The interest in the production of mesitylene is due to its multiple applications in different industrial fields, such as in the chemical, pharmaceutical and energy industry, as it is used for the production of many other chemical products, such as antioxidants, thermal stabilizers for plastics, rubber , adhesives and waxes, plant growth regulators, etc.
Due to the high interest in obtaining mesitylene, new and better catalysts are still needed for its production from acetone, since the current processes are not very selective, not sustainable and not cost competitive.
Researchers from a Spanish university working in chemical engineering have developed a method for producing mesitylene (1,3,5 trimethylbenzene) from acetone in a single stage by heterogeneous catalysis. The method comprises the use of a catalyst formed by a mixture of two solid materials with different catalytic functionality: the first one comprises a material with basic properties, while the second solid comprises a material with acidic properties.
The researchers would like to reach license agreements with companies operating in the chemical, pharmaceutical and energy fields with the aim to develop applications of the described technology.
The proposed method is competitive, since the materials used (oxides and aluminosilicates) can be obtained in high volumes and are formed by common elements, unlike current processes, which use catalysts that contain unusual or precious metals. In addition, both materials (basic oxide and aluminosilicates) are found in the same catalyst bed, favoring the conversion of acetone to mesitylene to a greater extent.
The method presents great selectivity with respect to the processes reported in the literature, increasing the selectivity of the mesitylene from values of around 5% to values between 75 and 90%.
The method is environmentally sustainable. The raw material (acetone) can be economically obtained both from biomass upgrading routes (pyrolysis, ABE (Acetone–butanol–ethanol) fermentation), or as a by-product of the phenol manufacture industries.
Technology validates in a wide range of operation conditions (temperatures, pressure, acetone concentration). Validation tests were performed in a continuous mode, being catalyst deactivation negligible at the optimal operation conditions.
Patent applied for in Spain.
Type of partner sought: Industry.
Specific area of activity of the partner: Companies that operate in the chemical, pharmaceutical and energy industry.
Task to be performed: Development of applications of the described invention.