The oxidative synthesis of acetonitrile from ethylamine was studied using a supported ruthenium catalyst. The reaction was conducted in both batch and flow processes and high conversions (over 85%) were achieved in both cases. Selectivity of both reactions was improved by optimisation of reaction conditions, achieving over 90% selectivity in the batch process and 80% selectivity in the continuous flow process. The use of a selective solid catalyst that utilises a feedstock that can be derived from biomass, dioxygen as the oxidant and water as the solvent represents a new, green route for the independent and efficient production of acetonitrile.
Green Chemistry, 2013, Vol 15, Issue 4, p. 928-933