Homogeneous Ethanol to Butanol Catalysis - Guerbet Renewed

Hope Aitchison, Richard L. Wingad, Duncan F. Wass*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

120 Citations (Scopus)
614 Downloads (Pure)


The catalytic conversion of (bio)ethanol into butanol is an attractive route to upgrade the modest fuel characteristics of this widely available bioderived substrate into a molecule that has properties much closer to conventional gasoline. The Guerbet reaction, known for more than 100 years, provides an ideal mechanism for this transformation. However, despite the apparently simple nature of this reaction for ethanol, it provides formidable challenges, especially in terms of achieving high selectivity. There have been advances in both heterogeneous and homogeneous catalysis in this regard, and this Perspective focuses on the very recent reports of homogeneous catalysts that describe encouraging results in terms of achieving high selectivity, mechanistic understanding, and widening scope.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)7125-7132
Number of pages8
JournalACS Catalysis
Issue number10
Early online date2 Sept 2016
Publication statusPublished - 7 Oct 2016


  • biofuels
  • butanol
  • ethanol upgrading
  • Guerbet catalysis
  • ruthenium


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