The ability to use alkanes directly as a feedstock for the chemical production of alcohols and other organics would significantly impact the chemical industry. The development of such technologies would take advantage of the tremendous reserves of natural gas within the U.S.
Using the large knowledge base gained from previous detailed mechanistic studies on the well-defined platinum-based Shilov systems, we are investigating electrophilic catalysts of other metals. Efforts are focused on developing and applying fundamental mechanistic understanding of C-H bond activation to the development of new catalytic systems for alkane and arene oxidation. CENTC is exploring new strategies for activating C-H bonds, for functionalizing metal-alkyl and metal-aryl bonds, and for creating C-C and C-O bonds. During this process, fundamentally new catalysts have been conceived, tested, and employed. The development of a catalytic system that can perform the partial oxidation of alkanes using O₂as an oxidant is a specific goal.