Chemicals & Distribution

Johnson Matthey Offers Novel Gusev Catalyst

UK specialty chemical and technology group Johnson Matthey announced the successful scale-up and commercial availability of a novel Gusev catalyst for ester hydrogenation. Using licensed technology developed by GreenCentre Canada, the catalyst combines high activity with high chemoselectivity that could revolutionize industrial applications of ester hydrogenation.

The technology, which was originally conceived and developed in the laboratories of professor Dmitri Gusev of Wilfrid Laurier University, was exclusively licensed from GreenCentre Canada, a provider of intellectual property services, to Johnson Matthey in 2016. Following this agreement, Johnson Matthey has scaled the manufacturing process of the Gusev catalyst, known as Ru-SNS, that shows exceptional activity for the important chemical transformation known as ester hydrogenation.

Ester hydrogenation is an essential transformation in the chemical industry used to form primary alcohols. It is widely used in the manufacture of a variety of commercial products including pharmaceuticals, detergents, cosmetics, flavours and fragrances.

Compared with existing industrial processes, the Gusev catalyst offers exceptional reactivity and improved selectivity, as well as possessing a higher tolerance of challenging functional groups. Reactions using this catalyst are also safer, owing to the milder operating conditions, and produce less environmental waste. The advantages offered by this catalytic process have the potential to greatly improve the economic and environmental performance of many large-scale commercial chemical processes.