TSK Core Technology

Iron Catalysts

Catalysts in Daily Life

In modern society, catalysts are essential for the production of various products. These include agrochemicals, semiconductors, pharmaceuticals, fuel cells, all-solid-state batteries, liquid crystal and OLED displays.

Iron Catalysts for a Sustainable Society

So far, in the field of industrial synthetic organic chemistry, rare metals such as palladium are mainly used as catalysts. However, most of them have a problem of high environmental concern due to their toxicity, and the prices are easily increased by geopolitical supply stability risks.

Besides, from the perspective of supply, it is expected that by 2050, the amount of rare metals used in catalysts will exceed not only the "proved reserves" but also the "unproved reserves," which is the amount of resources that are technically minable but not yet mined for economic reasons.※1 As a result, research and development of sustainable organic synthetic reactions to replace rare metal catalysts is conducted all over the world.

※1)Resource Depletion Risk, National Institute for Materials Science (NIMS)

Iron, on the other hand, is a metal that is abundant in the earth and is very inexpensive with low depletion risk. Besides, its low toxicity makes it suitable as a raw material for medical products and intermediates.

Iron-catalyzed Organic Synthesis

In the field of organic synthesis, expectations for iron catalysts with low supply risk and environmental impact are increasing. For example, it is estimated that the use of iron catalysts in place of palladium catalysts used in the synthesis of conventional display materials will enable synthesis at about 1/3 the cost in terms of total yield, elimination of synthetic processes, and the cost of the catalyst itself.

Furthermore, when environmental costs are taken into account, the benefits of using iron catalysts for the organic synthetic chemistry industry are immeasurable. Iron catalysts are indeed essential for realizing a sustainable society.

Until now, it has been difficult to control the reactivity of iron-catalyzed organic synthesis. However, in 2004, Masaharu Nakamura, an associate professor of the University of Tokyo (currently a full professor of Kyoto University), succeeded in achieving the desired reactivity by using iron catalysts that he had designed.

After further research, TSK Corporation was established in July 2021 as a chemical venture from Kyoto University to develop and utilize our technology.