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A detailed comparison of catalytic properties of two different ruthenium-based catalysts in the reaction of homogeneous hydrogenation of acetophenone was performed. Additionally, methods of synthesis of both catalysts were tested and optimized in order to achieve the best possible quality and purity of the final catalysts. NMR analysis was used to analyze and identify the composition of ruthenium compounds and gas chromatography was used to analyze the conversion rate of hydrogenation reactions. It was determined that RuCl2(PPh3)3 obtained with a modified method described by Shaw’s group (Shawet al., 2007) had the best catalytic properties in the reaction performed under conditions described in Liang Wang’s publication (Wang et al., 2014). It was also determined that for concentration ratio of substrate to RuCl2(PPh3)3 amounting to 250:1 the conversion rate was much higher than that of the reaction performed with a double dose of the catalyst. Results of experiments also show that samples of the post-reaction solution should be analyzed right after the reaction, because even if they are stored in low temperature the amount of product can change up to 3–5% compared to the base sample and this change is not predictable. These findings have significant implications for further research of the reaction of homogeneous transfer hydrogenation of ketones. With the right catalysts and methods of their synthesis other parameters of this reaction can be optimized. The most important one is a change of solvent from isopropyl alcohol to a less toxic substance like water. This may increase the value of the reaction in green chemistry and chemical industry.
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