Membranes (Basel). 2023 Aug 17;13(8):738. doi: 10.3390/membranes13080738.
Catalyst recovery is a major challenge for reaching the objectives of green chemistry for industry. Indeed, catalysts enable quick and selective syntheses with high reaction yields. This is especially the case for homogeneous platinoid catalysts which are almost indispensable for cross-coupling reactions often used by the pharmaceutical industry. However, they are based on scarce, expensive, and toxic resources. In addition, they are quite sensitive and degrade over time at the end of the reaction. Once degraded, their regeneration is complex and hazardous to implement. Working on their recovery could lead to highly effective catalytic chemistries while limiting the environmental and economic impacts of their one-time uses. This review aims to describe and compare conventional processes for metal removal while discussing their advantages and drawbacks considering the objective of homogeneous catalyst recovery. Most of them lead to difficulty recycling active catalysts due to their ability to only treat metal ions or to chelate catalysts without the possibility to reverse the mechanism. However, membrane processes seem to offer some perspectives with limiting degradations. While membranes are not systematically the best option for recycling homogeneous catalysts, current development might help improve the separation between pharmaceutical active ingredients and catalysts and enable their recycling.