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Title: Synthesis of organic carbonates from alcoholysis of urea: A review
Authors: Shukla K.
Srivastava, Vimal Chandra
Published in: Catalysis Reviews - Science and Engineering
Abstract: Organic carbonates are green compounds with a wide range of applications. They are widely used for the synthesis of important industrial compounds including monomers, polymers, surfactants, plasticizers, and also used as fuel additives. They can be divided into two main classes: cyclic and linear carbonates. Dimethyl carbonate (DMC) and diethyl carbonate (DEC) are the important linear carbonates. Carbonyl and alkyl groups present in DMC and DEC make them reactive and versatile for synthesizing various other important compounds. Ethylene carbonate (EC), glycerol carbonate (GC) and propylene carbonate (PC) are well-known cyclic organic carbonates. Phosgenation of alcohols was widely used for synthesis of organic carbonates; however, toxicity of raw materials restricted use of phosgenation method. A number of new non-phosgene methods including alcoholysis of urea, carbonylation of alcohols using CO2, oxy-carbonylation of alcohols, and trans-esterfication of alcohols and carbonates have been developed for synthesizing organic carbonates. Carbonylation of alcohols is preferred as it helps in utilization and sequestration of CO2, however, poor thermodynamics due to high stability of CO2is the major obstacle in its large scale commercialization. Oxy-carbonylation of alcohols offers high selectivity but presence of oxygen poisons the catalyst. Recently, alcoholysis of urea has received more attention because of its inexpensive abundant raw materials, favorable thermodynamics, and no water-alcohol azeotrope formation. Also, ammonia evolved in this synthesis route can be recycled back to urea by reacting it with CO2. In other words, this method is a step towards utilization of CO2as well. This article reviews synthesis of DMC, DEC, GC, PC, and EC from urea by critically examining various catalysts used and their performances. Mechanisms have been reviewed in order to give an insight of the synthesis routes. Research challenges along with future perspectives have also been discussed. © 2017 Taylor & Francis.
Citation: Catalysis Reviews - Science and Engineering (2017), 59(1): 1-43
Issue Date: 2017
Publisher: Taylor and Francis Inc.
Keywords: diethyl carbonate (DEC)
Dimethyl carbonate (DMC)
ethylene carbonate (EC)
glycerol carbonate (GC)
propylene carbonate (PC)
ISSN: 1614940
Author Scopus IDs: 57188985875
Author Affiliations: Shukla, K., Department of Chemical Engineering, Indian Institute of Technology Roorkee, Roorkee, Uttarakhand, India
Srivastava, V.C., Department of Chemical Engineering, Indian Institute of Technology Roorkee, Roorkee, Uttarakhand, India
Corresponding Author: Srivastava, V.C.; Department of Chemical Engineering, Indian Institute of Technology RoorkeeIndia; email:
Appears in Collections:Journal Publications [CH]

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