Catalysts for the reactions of epoxides and carbon dioxide Academic Article uri icon


  • Oxiranes and carbon dioxide are known to cycloadd and/or copolymerize in the presence of a variety of catalysts. Indeed, cyclic carbonates are prepared on a technical scale by coupling epoxides and carbon dioxide. The fact that cyclic carbonate formation represents one of the few examples of successful carbon dioxide utilization, coupled with the high reactivity of epoxides, has resulted in many papers which reveal a remarkable variety of active catalysts for the CO2/epoxide coupling processes. Catalysts include simple alkali metal salts, ammonium salts, phosphines, main-group metal complexes, and both non-oxidative and oxidative transition-metal complexes. The purpose of this review is to compile the different catalysts into their general groups of similarity, with the hopes of shedding light on some of the important differences in reaction pathways. There generally appears to be a lack of detailed mechanistic studies; therefore, it is hoped that this review will emphasize where mechanistic clarification is most importantly needed. Furthermore, we anticipate that this review will provide insight into cyclic carbonate vs. polycarbonate production from the CO2/epoxide coupling process.

published proceedings


altmetric score

  • 9

author list (cited authors)

  • Darensbourg, D. J., & Holtcamp, M. W.

citation count

  • 738

complete list of authors

  • Darensbourg, DJ||Holtcamp, MW

publication date

  • August 1996