Sci Adv. 2022 Oct 21;8(42):eade3094. doi: 10.1126/sciadv.ade3094. Epub 2022 Oct 19.
Homogeneous catalysts have rapid kinetics and keen reaction selectivity. However, their widespread use for industrial catalysis has remained limited because of challenges in reusability. Here, we propose a redox-mediated electrochemical approach for catalyst recycling using metallopolymer-functionalized electrodes for binding and release. The redox platform was investigated for the separation of key platinum and palladium homogeneous catalysts used in organic synthesis and industrial chemical manufacturing. Noble metal catalysts for hydrosilylation, silane etherification, Suzuki cross-coupling, and Wacker oxidation were recycled electrochemically. The redox electrodes demonstrated high sorption uptake for platinum-based catalysts (Qmax up to 200 milligrams of platinum per gram of adsorbent) from product mixtures, with up to 99.5% recovery, while retaining full catalytic activity over multiple cycles. The combination of mechanistic studies and electronic structure calculations indicate that selective interactions with anionic intermediates during the catalytic cycle played a key role in the separations. Last, continuous flow cell studies support the scalability and favorable technoeconomics of electrochemical recycling.