Application 1022 3D rendered image of a ball-and-stick model of a chemical structure with the transparent and shiny finish of water

Transfer hydrogenation with catalyst recycling in a rotating bed reactor

Hydrogenation reactions using hydrogen gas are usually efficient and clean. Drawbacks are the safety issues of handling hydrogen gas, need for reactors made for pressurized reactions, and the necessity of vigorous stirring to make these solid-liquid-gaseous reactions work well.

Transfer hydrogenation is an attractive alternative to conventional hydrogenation due to easy handling and high safety. When performed with costly heterogeneous transition metal catalysts, tedious filtration is typically required to isolate the product. This application note demonstrates transfer hydrogenation catalyzed by palladium-containing beads. The catalyst beads were held in SpinChem® cartridges placed into a rotating bed reactor (RBR). This set-up resulted in high product conversions throughout more than 10 consecutive reactions without any need for filtration. Catalyst handling, washing and recycling was very quick and convenient giving a high productivity.

Bar graph showing the conversion after one hour and 18 hours for 10 batches.

Catalyst recycling study for ten consecutive transfer hydrogenations using Reaxa Pd(0) EnCat® 30NP catalyst. Conversion after 1 h (dark blue) and 18 h (light blue).

From this we estimated that around 100 cycles can be performed without catalyst renewal.


  • Convenient transfer hydrogenation can be performed using heterogeneous catalysis in a SpinChem® RBR without any need for filtration.
  • Catalyst recycling can be performed for more than 10 consecutive reactions without any significant decrease in conversion.


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