Photocatalytic oxidation process to produce phenol

  • Alfonso from ICMAB-CSIC
  • From Spain
  • Responsive
  • Patents for licensing

Summary of the technology

Photocatalytic oxidation process to produce phenol or other alcohols from aliphatic and aromatic hydrocarbons, such as hexane, heptane, cyclohexene. toluene, etc.


Details of the Technology Offer

Phenol is an industrial commodity as precursor to many materials, such as, epoxies, nylon, detergents, pharmaceutical drugs, etc. Phenol market in 2022 was 23 billion $.

Cumene process is the standard method to obtain phenol and acetone as a by-product, in a proportion 60:40. The process needs high pressure and high temperature in some of the steps.

We present a new method. With a photoredox reaction in water, catalysed by metallacarboranes at room temperature and atmosphere pressure, we obtain phenol with an over 90% yield. Increasing the time of the reaction we can obtain other products as pyrocatechol, resorcinol, among others. This photocatalytic process can be used to obtain other alcohols from aliphatic and aromatic hydrocarbons, such as hexane, heptane, cyclohexene, toluene, etc.

Current development status

Laboratory prototypes


Phenol and alcohols production

Desired business relationship

Patent licensing

Technology development

New technology applications

Intellectual property status

  • Patent already applied for
  • Patent application number :EP2338257

Attached documents

Related Keywords

  • Sustainability
  • Industrial Products
  • Chemicals and Materials
  • Commodity chemicals and polymers
  • Industrial chemicals


The Institute of Materials Science of Barcelona​ (ICMAB) is a Severo Ochoa Centre of Excellence research center which beongs to the Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Científicas (CSIC) and is governed by a Foundation board.

The Institute was set up in 1987 and subsequently, in April 1991, the laboratories were opened at the Campus of the Autonomous University of Barcelona (UAB). It is part of the Barcelona Nanotechnology Cluster in Bellaterra.

The aim of the institute is to carry out research aimed at obtaining and characterising materials of industrial interest. Its activities are based on the synthesis, preparation, crystallization and characterisation of functional high-performance materials and nanomaterials, which in some cases have led to the construction of device prototypes based on these materials.

Studies and improvements both of conventional materials, as well as new molecular, supramolecular, magnetic, superconducting and porous materials etc. are being developed through projects and research contracts. There are currently 9 ERC funded projects at ICMAB.

To develop these activities, at present there are 57 permanent staff among researchers and back up personnel together with 80 non-permanent staff divided into eight researgh groups, one general unit service, and one unit of Scientific and Technological Services.

In 2016 the ICMAB reached the 100.000 citations, and it is currently the first centre, among the CSIC centres, in the Nature Index. Each permanent researcher publishes close to 5 articles per year in Journals with a very high impact factor.

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