Platinum is one of the most widely used hydrogenation catalysts. Here we describe the translation of batch reactions to continuous flow, affording tunable C=O versus C=C hydrogenation over a Pt/SiO2 catalyst, resulting in high steady state activity and single-pass yields in the selective hydrogenation of cinnamaldehyde to cinnamyl alcohol under mild conditions. Negligible catalyst deactivation occurs under extended flow operation due to removal of reactively-formed poisons from the reaction zone. Process intensification imparts a four-fold enhancement in cinnamyl alcohol productivity.
Bibliographical noteFunding: EPSRC (EP/G007594/4, EP/K014749/1) and the award of a Leadership Fellowship; and Royal Society for an Industry Fellowship.
Supplementary data avaialbe on DOI: 10.1039/c5ra14984c