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Pure Appl. Chem., 2012, Vol. 84, No. 3, pp. 603-620

Published online 2011-09-22

Recent progress in phosgene-free methods for synthesis of dimethyl carbonate*

Weicai Peng1, Ning Zhao1, Fukui Xiao1, Wei Wei1* and Yuhan Sun2,1*

1 State Key Laboratory of Coal Conversion, Institute of Coal Chemistry, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Taiyuan 030001, China
2 Low Carbon Conversion Center, Shanghai Advanced Research Institute, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Shanghai 201203, China

Abstract: Dimethyl carbonate (DMC) is considered as an environmentally benign chemical due to negligible ecotoxicity, low bioaccumulation, and low persistence. However, the traditional process of DMC synthesis via phosgene and methanol is limited in industry owing to the toxic raw material involved. Thus, environmentally friendly phosgene-free processes for DMC production have been proposed and developed in the past decades. Until now, the alternatives appear to be the oxidative carbonylation of methanol, the transesterification of propylene or ethylene carbonate (PC or EC), the methanolysis of urea, and the direct synthesis of DMC from CO2 with methanol. In this review, we present some recent developments of these phosgene-free approaches and their prospects for industrialization.
*Pure Appl. Chem. 84, xxx–xxx (2012). A collection of invited papers for the IUPAC project 2008-016-1-300 “Chlorine-free Synthesis for Green Chemistry”.