In principle, continuous hydrogenation in scCO2 offers the possibility of separating reaction products from both the solvent and the catalyst. These separations are often problematic in more conventional catalysis.

In collaboration with Professor Piet van Leeuwen’s group [then in Amsterdam] we were among the first to report success in this area. “Continuous, Selective Hydroformylation in Supercritical Carbon Dioxide using an Immobilised Homogeneous Catalyst” (N. J. Meehan, A. J. Sandee, J. N. H. Reek, P. C. J. Kamer, P. W. N. M. van Leeuwen and M. Poliakoff) Chem. Commun. (2000) 1497-8.

Scale up of such reactions is currently prevented by the lack of supported catalyst available in commercial quantities.

Biphasic supercritical hydroformylation pioneered by Professor David Cole-Hamilton is industrially more promising. Currently we are collaborating with Cole-Hamilton in exploring the use of our technique for testing immobilised catalysts.

We always welcome e- mails to from those interested in this area or who would like reprints of papers.