Nat Commun. 2023 Jan 5;14(1):73. doi: 10.1038/s41467-022-35776-3.
Oxidative dehydrogenation (ODH) of alkane over boron nitride (BN) catalyst exhibits high olefin selectivity as well as a small ecological carbon footprint. Here we report an unusual phenomenon that the in-situ formed olefins under reactions are in turn actively accelerating parent alkane conversion over BN by interacting with hydroperoxyl and alkoxyl radicals and generating reactive species which promote oxidation of alkane and olefin formation, through feeding a mixture of alkane and olefin and DFT calculations. The isotope tracer studies reveal the cleavage of C-C bond in propylene when co-existing with propane, directly evidencing the deep-oxidation of olefins occur in the ODH reaction over BN. Furthermore, enhancing the activation of ethane by the in-situ formed olefins from propane is successfully realized at lower temperature by co-feeding alkane mixture strategy. This work unveils the realistic ODH reaction pathway over BN and provides an insight into efficiently producing olefins.