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Production of Biomass-Based Automotive Lubricants by Reductive Etherification.


Growing concern with the effects of CO2 emissions due to the combustion of petroleum-based transportation fuels has motivated the search for means to increase engine efficiency. The discovery of ethers with low viscosity presents an important opportunity to improve engine efficiency and fuel economy. We show here a strategy for the catalytic synthesis of such ethers by reductive etherification/O-alkylation of alcohols using building blocks that can be sourced from biomass. We find that long-chain branched ethers have several properties that make them superior lubricants to the mineral oil and synthetic base oils used today. These ethers provide a class of potentially renewable alternatives to conventional lubricants produced from petroleum and may contribute to the reduction of greenhouse gases associated with vehicle emissions.

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