Ethylene is widely used in the chemical industry for synthesis of a variety important chemicals and materials. Current ethylene-derived products include poly(ethylene), ethylene glycol, vinyls, and styrene, among others. Linear alpha olefins (LAOs) are used as comonomers in the production of linear low density poly(ethylene) (LLDPE), synthetic lubricants, and plasticizer alcohols. Current industrial processes require significant amounts of energy to produce LAOs from ethylene. Another problem relates to the generation of lower-value poly(ethylene) as insoluble solids in the reactor. To address these problems, researchers at the University of California, Berkeley, have developed a new highly selective catalytic process for synthesizing 1-hexene from ethylene. The team has demonstrated a metal-based process using a novel series of ligands, which are easily assembled from commercially available starting materials. Given the data collected to date, this inventions shows promise towards developing efficient catalytic processes for transforming ethylene into C6 or C8 LAOs.
ethylene, polyethylene, linear alpha olefins, LAO, ethylene glycol, catalytic, lubricants, LLDPE, plasticizer, linear alpha olefin