Earth-Abundant Metal Catalysis

Organizers: Matthew Winston, Senior Scientist, Merck & Co., Rahway, NJ; Steven Wisniewski, Senior Research Investigator II, Bristol Myers Squibb, New Brunswick, NJ

Cosponsor: Green Chemistry Institute Pharmaceutical Roundtable

Despite the significant impact of heavy metal catalysts in advancing science across industries (including pharma, materials, and energy), the need for less toxic and more sustainable processes has pushed Earth-abundant metal catalysis into the forefront of chemical research. Distinguished from their heavy metal congeners in their redox chemistry and coordination behavior, Earth-abundant metals can access different mechanistic pathways to catalyze known transformations, or effect new ones. Understanding these mechanisms for catalyst design can often be complicated by competing processes involving single and two-electron chemistry, multiple oxidation and spin states, and the need for analytical tools complementary to those used for studying traditional heavy metal catalysis. Nevertheless, mechanistically-rooted studies have led to advancements in Earth-abundant chemistry, leading to new catalyst systems that not only supplant less abundant metals with sustainable alternatives, but push the boundaries of chemical space by exploiting novel reactivity.

This symposium will bring together experts in academia, industry and government in the areas of:

1. Homogeneous and heterogeneous Earth-abundant metal catalyst development for applications in pharmaceuticals, energy, and other industries.
2. Mechanistic studies of Earth-abundant metal chemistry, including kinetics and spectroscopy.
3. Industrial scale production using Earth-abundant metal catalysis.