IIT Mandi Teams Up with IIT Ropar Researchers Develop Green Catalysts for Industrial Use

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Samrat Roy

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New Delhi: IIT Mandi Researchers have invented a Catalyst which is not only safe for the environment but can also be available at affordable prices. 

IIT Mandi Associate Professor, Venkata Krishnan said the importance of catalysts cannot be estimated and are required everyday use by the Industries. This helps in increasing the yield and production rate for the formation of final products.

Catalyst is a substance which increases the reaction by reducing energy or changing the reaction mechanism without getting involved in the reaction. 

The team of researchers has recently developed a heterogeneous catalyst with carbon for hydrogenation. This carbon is easily available in the market and used in the Chemical Industry. The research team also consisted of scholars from IIT Ropar.

Further, he added, as the Chemical Industries are playing a major role in affecting Global warming, green catalysts are the need of the hour.

Safe Hydrogen Donor Used in Catalyst

As per the researchers, hydrogenation reactions are commonly used for the manufacture of Perfumes, Pharmaceutical products, Fine Chemicals and Agrochemicals. 

In the earlier age, the hydrogenation methods included the reaction of hydrogen gas and carbonyl compounds. These compounds include Ketones, acids and aldehydes.

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To avoid the expensive materials and subjection connected with hydrogen, a safe hydrogen donor chemical was used in the Hydrogenation reaction recently.In this situation, catalysts are used. 

Hydrogenation catalysts can transfer the hydrogen from a cheaper and non-dangerous hydrogen donor to the substrate for converting into the final product.

These catalysts involve metals such as rhodium, platinum, ruthenium and iridium. Such metals add the cost of synthesis method along with the environmental issues which become difficult to recover the catalysts.

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Krishnan explained recently that simple carbon-based materials are recognized all over the world with cheaper rates and easy availability on the market. Such carbon-based metals have high stability and are eco-friendly.

Among all the catalysts, the team has chosen the Graphitic Carbon Nitride (GCN) as a metal-free catalyst because of its interesting chemical and physical properties. 

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Once the heterogeneous catalysts are synthesized by chemical oxidation of GCN nanosheets, the water-loving (Hydrophilic) carboxyl, Ketogenic and Hydroxyl groups are generated as a result.

The added advantage to this is that the catalyst can be easily recovered and reused after several runs without any loss in the reaction process.

The team included Krishnan and a bunch of research scholars: Ajay Kumar, Ashish Bahuguna, and Priyanka Choudhary from IIT Mandi. Associate Professor CM Nagraja, of the Department of Chemistry, IIT Ropar and his scholar Sandeep Singh Dhankhar contributed to the invention.

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