A cheaper and more sustainable way to make the commodity acrylate from carbon dioxide rather than oil has been developed by researchers in the US. Wesley Bernskoetter of Brown University and colleagues there and at Yale University have shown how they can break open five-membered rings formed between carbon dioxide, ethylene from biomass and a nickel catalyst using Lewis acids. This facilitates an elimination and formation of acrylate. We thought that if we could find a way to cut the ring chemically, then we would be able to eliminate very quickly and form acrylate, explains Bernskoetter. And that turns out to be true.
Carbon dioxide to acrylate