Engineering News

Chemists Find New Way To Make Amines
Wednesday, June 18, 2008

U.S. chemists say they are using a newly discovered catalyst to aid in the production of amines at low cost and with no waste products

University of California-Riverside scientists say the new technology can quickly, cleanly and inexpensively produce amines, which are nitrogen-containing organic compounds derived from ammonia. They are used in such products as solvents, additives, detergents, dyes and bactericides.

"Although there are several methods to prepare amines on laboratory scales, most of them are not suitable for commodity chemical production, not only because of the formation of waste materials, but also because the cost of the starting substances used to prepare amines is high," said Professor Guy Bertrand, whose lab made the discovery.

Bertrand said companies currently use highly corrosive hydrochloric acid to produce amines. But in generating 1 ton of amines, manufacturers must discard 3 tons of byproducts.

"Our 'green chemistry' method, however, produces no waste, which makes it inexpensive," Bertrand said. "Moreover, the reaction is a quick one-step reaction, and you need a tiny amount of a catalyst to do the trick."

The report appears in the online issue of Angewandte Chemie in advance of print.

Source: United Press International

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