The aim of H-CCAT

The H-CCAT project devises solid hybrid materials that are superior catalysts for C-H activation on aromatic compounds, and develops innovative procedures to produce and shape these catalytic materials in an economically and environmentally beneficial way. The catalysts will allow sustainable production of pharmaceutically relevant compounds or other specialty chemicals. The targeted reactions comprise:

  • Oxidative C-H/C-H couplings, in which an organic molecule is linked via its C-H bond to an aromatic reactant with another C-H bond
  • Non-oxidative C-H/C-X couplings, in which an organic molecule with a hetero-atom (X) is coupled to the C-H bond of the aromatic reactant.

Depending on the reaction, catalysts are selected and developed starting from two material classes:

  • Metal-Organic Framework (MOF) materials: these are porous, crystalline and sometimes flexible hybrid materials, made from an inorganic metal-(oxo) cluster (e.g. Zr, Al, Fe,...) and organic linkers. These MOFs will be used for C-H/C-H coupling and for C-H/C-X coupling;
  • Porous hybrid silicas, which are hybrid materials made from a silicate scaffold with organic surface groups, and which acquire porosity by templating with organic surfactant micelles. These will be used for C-H/C-X coupling.

The active catalytic sites will be designed in these porous hybrid host materials using combinations of active metals and organic ligands, all linked with robust bonds to the host matrix with engineered porosity. Shaping processes will be developed in function of catalytic demonstration at pilot scale. Shaping will be up-scaled to pilot capacities to demonstrate the relevance and performance of the obtained materials in terms of properties (activity, absence of metal leaching, selectivity), reproducibility, quality control and costs and benefits for industrial applications in pharmaceutical production. Greening of the reactants, solvents and processes will be studied, strictly avoiding toxic compounds, and LCA will be performed to demonstrate the environmental benefits both in materials preparation and in pharmaceuticals production.