Hydrogenolysis of ethers

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


Ethers are generally less reactive than other functionalized compounds such as alcohols. Therefore, cleavage of one of the C-O bonds in an ether group is not common in organic synthesis, except in the case of very reactive ethers such as benzyl ethers, tert-butyl ethers, and epoxides. The presence of two C-O bonds in each ether group causes another problem for the utilization of ether transformations in organic syntheses: The conversion of unsymmetrical ethers can produce two different sets of products. However, the recent focus on biomass conversion has renewed interest in ether conversions, because biomassderived materials often contain ether groups. An example of this is lignin,[1] which is a complex polyether of propylbenzene units. Furan derivatives are also important biomass-derived compounds.[2,3] Biomass resources generally contain large amounts of oxygen atoms and many functional groups. Removal of ether oxygen is one of the main reactions in biomass conversion, and ether hydrogenolysis (Scheme 1) achieves this end.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationFlow Chemistry in Organic Synthesis
EditorsJ.G. De Vries
PublisherGeorg Thieme Verlag
Number of pages25
ISBN (Print)9783132406216
Publication statusPublished - 2017

Publication series

NameScience of Synthesis
ISSN (Print)2510-5469
ISSN (Electronic)2566-7297


  • Aryl ethers
  • Biofuels
  • Biomass resources
  • Cyclic ethers
  • Furan
  • Hydrogenation
  • Hydrogenolysis
  • Reduction
  • Unsymmetrical ethers

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physical and Theoretical Chemistry
  • Organic Chemistry


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