H2-Driven Deoxygenation of Epoxides and Diols to Alkenes Catalyzed by Methyltrioxorhenium

Catalytic deoxygenation of epoxides and diols is underdeveloped. This reaction is appealing in the context of making value-added organics from biomass. Methyltrioxorhenium (MTO) catalyzes the conversion of epoxides and vicinal diols to olefins with dihydrogen (H2) as the reductant under reasonably mild conditions (150 °C and 80−300 psi). The only reaction byproduct is water. The reaction is selective for cis cyclic diols, signaling a mechanism of alkene extrusion from a coordinated epoxide via a metallaoxetane intermediate.