Zwitterionic compounds useful as catalysts for esterification reactions and processes for their production



Esters find applications in a wide variety of industrial applications, including the use as plasticizers, lubricants, lubricant additives, laquer bases, perfumes, cosmetics, foods, coatings, adhesives, resins, fragrances, solvents, extractants, etc. Several synthetic routes exist to produce esters, the most industrially relevant of which is the catalysed reaction of an acid with an alcohol. Conversion is equilibrium-limited and reaction of (poly)carboxylic acids with an alcohol require water removal to achieve full conversion.

Technical Description

The present invention describes zwitterionic compounds useful as catalysts for the preparation of organic esters. The zwitterionic catalysts are aniline or quinoline-based sulfonic acid compounds.


Presented catalysts have following benefits:

  • A high catalytic activity while effectively avoiding the formation of side-products.
  • Easy removal


  • New chemical process development for esters

Further research/Extension

  • Testing specific catalyst combinations on the required substrates.
  • Smart throughput screening of catalysts, including benchmark catalysts.


The invention is a solution for esterification reactions that are compromised by catalyst removal issues or substantial side product formation.

For more information on our licensing opportunities please contact Koen Van Aken.

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