Improved Synthesis of Linear Alpha Olefins from Ethylene

Tech ID: 25806 / UC Case 2016-151-0

Brief Description

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.

Suggested uses

  • Specialty chemical products e.g. LLDPE, synthetic lubricants, plasticizer alcohols


  • Low-cost, modular, 3-step synthesis of ligands allows for catalyst reactivity to be tuned between polymerization/ oligomerization
  • Various well-defined precatalyst have been synthesized and fully characterized
  • Leverages industry standard chemical platforms

Related Materials


Learn About UC TechAlerts - Save Searches and receive new technology matches


  • Tilley, T. Don

Other Information


ethylene, polyethylene, linear alpha olefins, LAO, ethylene glycol, catalytic, lubricants, LLDPE, plasticizer, linear alpha olefin

Categorized As