Hydroformylation, or oxo synthesis/process, is important for the production of olefins to aldehydes and aldehydes from alkenes. Hydroformylation reactions are performed at high pressure and can be challenging to sample due to the extreme reaction conditions, as well as the toxic, flammable, and reactive raw materials and reagents.
In a hydroformylation, the catalyst is typically an expensive part of the process. Air oxidation of the active species is the first step in losing the valuable metal catalyst. In some cases, converting the catalyst back to active form can be accomplished, but at a cost to production and resources.
The ability to monitor the catalyst for activity and selectivity is key. Real-time in situ FTIR spectroscopy (ReactIR) enables the reaction to be followed without the need for sampling. It provides in-depth knowledge about the catalyst by monitoring the metal carbonyl bands in the 2200-1900cm-1 region where few other species absorb. The H2/CO ratio also affects the amount of active catalyst. Investigating different gas ratios and environments provides the ability to gain insight into the catalyst mechanism and selectivity. Catalyst intermediates can also be observed to elucidate their impact on product yield and purity.