Selective oxidation of light alkanes under mild conditions

Sunney I. Chan, Steve S.F. Yu, Chih Cheng Liu, Chung Yuan Mou

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

10 Citations (Scopus)


Methanotrophs mediate the conversion of methane (CH4) into methanol selectively and efficiently near ambient conditions so we can learn from microbes to develop biomimetic catalysts capable of performing this difficult chemistry. This review highlights the development of a tricopper cluster catalyst that functions similar to the particulate methane monooxygenase enzyme in methanotrophic bacteria. The performance of this catalytic system formulated for quasi-heterogeneous catalysis is compared with other heterogeneous catalysts derived from Cu- and Fe-based zeolites and Cu mordenites known to activate CH4 stoichiometrically near 200 °C. We also highlight a unique catalytic system, in which the oxidizing power of both O atoms of the O2 molecule can be harnessed for oxidation of toluene to yield benzaldehyde at room temperature.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)39-46
Number of pages8
JournalCurrent Opinion in Green and Sustainable Chemistry
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2020
Externally publishedYes


  • Dioxygenase model
  • Heterogeneous catalysis
  • Methane monooxygenases
  • Methane oxidation
  • Tricopper cluster complex

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Catalysis
  • Chemistry (miscellaneous)
  • Waste Management and Disposal
  • Process Chemistry and Technology
  • Management, Monitoring, Policy and Law


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