Catalysis Letters

, Volume 142, Issue 1, pp 81–86 | Cite as

Brönsted Acidic Ionic Liquids as Efficient and Recyclable Catalysts for the Carbonylation of Formaldehyde



Methyl glycolate (MG), as a precursor to ethylene glycol (EG), was synthesized by an efficient and eco-friendly procedure of one-pot, two-step, sequential reaction, including carbonylation and esterification from HCHO with Brönsted acidic ionic liquids (BAILs) as catalysts. MG was obtained in high yield under mild conditions. In addition, the catalyst could be recycled eight times after separating the unreacted materials and products from the reaction system by distillation under vacuum and no significant decrease in catalytic activity was observed.

Graphical Abstract

Methyl glycolate (MG) was successfully synthesized from the carbonylation of HCHO using Brönsted acidic ionic liquids (BAILs) as catalysts, followed by esterification with methanol. The conversion of HCHO and yield of MG could up to 99.2% and 98.0%, respectively. The catalyst and solvent could be separated and reused at least eight times without apparently loss of activity.


Formaldehyde Carbonylation Methyl glycolate Ethylene glycol Ionic liquids 



This study was supported by National Basic Research Program of China (973 Program) 2011CB201404 and the Key Project of the National Twelfth-Five Year Research Program of China 2011BAE17B00.


  1. 1.
    Berty JM (1983) In: Leach BL (ed) Applied industrial catalysis, vol 1. Academic Press, New YorkGoogle Scholar
  2. 2.
    Pruett RL, Walker WE (1976) US Patent 3,957,857, 6 April 1976Google Scholar
  3. 3.
    Jacobson SE (1987) J Mol Catal 41:163CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. 4.
    Larson AT (1939) US Patent 2,153,064, 4 April 1939Google Scholar
  5. 5.
    Lee SY, Kim JC, Lee JS, Kim YG (1993) Ind Eng Chem Res 32:253CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. 6.
    Loder DJ (1939) US Patent 2,152,852, 4 April 1939Google Scholar
  7. 7.
    Souma Y, Sano H (1982) Nippon Kagaku Kaishi 2:263CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. 8.
    Xu Q, Souma Y (1998) Top Catal 6:17CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. 9.
    Xu Q (2002) Coord Chem Rev 231:83CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. 10.
    Sugita N (1991) Sekiyu Gakkaishi 34:13CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. 11.
    Sun Y, Wang H, Shen JH, Liu HC, Liu ZM (2009) Catal Commun 10:678CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. 12.
    Celik FE, Lawrence H, Bell AT (2008) J Mol Catal A Chem 288:87CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. 13.
    Barri SAI, Chadwick D (2011) Catal Lett 141:749CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. 14.
    Parvulescu VI, Hardacre C (2007) Chem Rev 107:2615CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. 15.
    Li T, Souma Y, Xu Q (2006) Catal Today 111:288CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. 16.
    Cole AC, Jensen JL, Ntai I, Tran KLT, Weaver KJ, Forbes DC, Davis JH (2002) J Am Chem Soc 124:5962CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. 17.
    Hopkinson AC, Holbrook NK, Yates K, Csizmadia IG (1968) J Chem Phys 49:3596CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. 18.
    Gu YL, Zhang J, Deng ZY, Deng YQ (2005) Adv Synth Catal 347:512CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. 19.
    Xu F, Chen HY, Zhang HB, Zhou XH, Cheng GH (2009) J Mol Catal A Chem 307:9CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. 20.
    Coetzee JF, Bertozzi RJ (1973) Anal Chem 45:1064CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.State Key Laboratory for Oxo Synthesis and Selective Oxidation, Lanzhou Institute of Chemical PhysicsChinese Academy of SciencesLanzhouPeople’s Republic of China

Personalised recommendations