One of the greatest challenges that the chemical industry faces today is to become less dependent on fossil resources, and oil in particular. One way of addressing this challenge is to find ways to transform renewable resources into commodity chemicals. Renewable resources such as carbohydrates and glycerol are rich in alcohol functionalities. Thus, a key step in utilizing these resources lies in the conversion of this functional group. Benign oxidations involving oxygen as the stoichiometric oxidant are important from both an environmental and economical perspective. Recently, it has become clear that supported gold nanoparticles are highly active catalysts for oxidizing alcohols and aldehydes using oxygen as the oxidant. This perspective will focus on the use of gold nanoparticles in the oxidation of renewables.
Chimica Oggi-chemistry Today, 2007, Vol 25, Issue 6, p. 70-73