Iridium Catalyst for Dehydrogenative Dimerization of Ethylene to Yield 1,3-Butadiene

Schematic diagram of the catalytic dehydrogenative dimerization of ethylene to butadiene

Invention Summary:

1,3-Butadiene is a chemical building block, most notably known for the production of synthetic elastomers and polymers. Traditionally, 1,3-butadiene is produced as a byproduct of naphtha cracking for ethylene production. Due to new sources, ethylene production has shifted away from naphtha cracking towards cracking ethane-rich shale gas. This has a left an unmet demand for 1,3-butadiene.

Researchers at Rutgers University developed a new method of producing 1,3-butadiene using a phebox pincer-ligated iridium catalyst. The iridium complex is used for catalysis of the dehydrogenative dimerization of ethylene. The reaction runs under mild conditions and with high selectivity.

Market Applications:

  • Elastomer production
  • Styrene production
  • Chemical suppliers


  • Inexpensive feedstock
  • High selectivity
  • Mild reaction conditions

Intellectual Property & Development Status:

Patent pending. Available for licensing and/or research collaboration.

Academic Publication:

Yang Gao, Thomas J. Emge, Karsten Krogh-Jespersen, and Alan S. Goldman. Selective Dehydrogenative Coupling of Ethylene to Butadiene via an Iridacyclopentane Complex. Journal of the American Chemical Society 2018 140 (6), 2260-2264 DOI: 10.1021/jacs.7b11689

Patent Information: