New environmentally friendly coupling reactions

In close cooperation with leading research institutes, Saltigo GmbH has developed a number of new reaction technologies to bring the ecological aspects of the production of agrochemical intermediates and active ingredients in line with the economic implications.

Saltigo - a wholly owned subsidiary of specialty chemicals group LANXESS AG - has succeeded, with the aid of innovative processes based on catalytic C-C-, C-CN- and C-O couplings, in combining the technical accessibility of complex chemical structures with their cost-effective commercial production. This collaboration between experts from university and industry yielded reaction technologies that Saltigo was able to scale up from laboratory to production in a very short time.

Ever higher demands are being made on the properties of new active ingredients for crop protection. They must, for example, have an excellent activity profile, minimal environmental impact and efficient application management. At the same time, pressure on costs in the crop protection industry is enormous, which means that new developments are subjected from the very beginning to a very tight budget. The products later on the market must not exceed this budget under any circumstances if they are to have prospects of economic success. This necessitates efficient, inexpensive syntheses, right from the market launch.

Dr. Matthias Gotta, head of Process Development in Saltigo's Agrochemicals business line, says: - The various approaches had to comply with a demanding catalog of requirements, including new access to interesting classes of agrochemical intermediates and active ingredients based on inexpensive starting materials and reagents, safe and reliable execution of the technical process in multi-purpose plants, and minimization of waste streams and energy losses.

The new processes are catalytic coupling reactions with which even complex structured compounds can be built easily and effectively. Instead of using expensive multi-stage production processes, significantly leaner processes can be applied, for example in C-C coupling reactions.

- The consistent use of inexpensive and environmentally friendly starting materials, the minimization of waste streams and the avoidance of difficult reaction conditions through the new processes illustrate perfectly that, in modern chemistry, sound economics and ecological friendliness can definitely go hand in hand - adds Gotta.

Saltigo GmbH, which is headquartered in Langenfeld and has production facilities in Leverkusen and Dormagen, is a leading supplier in the field of custom synthesis and employs around 1,400 people worldwide. The wholly owned subsidiary of specialty chemicals group LANXESS AG belongs to the Advanced Intermediates segment, which achieved total sales in 2007 of EUR 1,204 million.