Recent advances in acid- and base-catalyzed organic synthesis in high-temperature liquid water

Shawn E. Hunter, Phillip E. Savage

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

111 Scopus citations


High-temperature (200-350 °C) liquid water (HTW) is a promising reaction medium for conducting acid- and base-catalyzed organic synthesis reactions in an environmentally responsible manner. This article provides a summary of recent advances made concerning acidand base-catalyzed organic synthesis in HTW. One advance is demonstrating that rates of acid-catalyzed reactions conducted in HTW can be accelerated while maintaining the solvent benignity by using CO2 as an additive. A second advance is showing that additional, commercially significant chemical products can be synthesized in HTW without catalyst. A third advance is demonstrating that product selectivity can be controlled by process variables such as temperature, water density, and heat-up time. A fourth advance is the emergence of mechanistic insight regarding acid- and base-catalyzed reactions in HTW. For example, we discuss the possibility that protons or hydroxide ions resulting from the dissociation of water may not be responsible for the occurrence of some classically acid- or base-catalyzed reactions in HTW without catalyst.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)4903-4909
Number of pages7
JournalChemical Engineering Science
Issue number22-23
StatePublished - Nov 2004

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Chemistry
  • General Chemical Engineering
  • Industrial and Manufacturing Engineering


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