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Novel derivatives of bicarbonates


The carbon dioxide expelled in atmosphere by industries has been a major contributor towards global
warming. As rightly described by seeker, the long term plan will to lessen the consumption of fossil fuels,
the short term plan should be fixation of this carbon dioxide in stable and insoluble form. One of the
ways to fix the carbon dioxide is to convert it to sodium bicarbonate which is again water soluble and
liberates carbon dioxide on contact with water. Herewith I would like to present a procedure for
converting the sodium bicarbonate into water insoluble aromatic bicarbonates.

Detailed description of the process:

The process described here mainly talks about a reactive distillation procedure to convert the sodium
bicarbonate into aromatic or aliphatic carbonate using an aliphatic or aromatic hydroxyl compound. This
is a batch process where the reaction occurs in a single step in the presence of a catalyst. Being not very
sure about whether the reaction will work with aromatic monohydroxy compounds or not, it will be
advised to perform the reaction of sodium bicarbonate with aliphatic hydroxyl compound. The reaction
can be depicted as follows.

NaHCO3 + 2R-OH

Sodium hydroxide, a stronger base (which will not liberate carbon dioxide) in diluted form will be
obtained as a by product in this reaction. Here R represents an alkyl group which may be having up to 8

A wide range of catalysts can be used for this process. Catalyst may be an alkali earth metal like
rubidium, potassium, zinc, lithium, sodium, cesium, calcium, magnesium etc. or the base form of alkali
earth metal such as hydride, hydroxides etc. The amount of catalyst used here varies depending on the
type of catalyst used. It has to be continuously fed into the reaction chamber. The feeding of sodium
bicarbonate and alcohol in the reaction vessel can be done in any mode as long as there is sufficient
contact between the reagents and the catalyst. The process can be made continuous by continuously
feeding the reagents and the catalyst in a specially designed reaction vessel.
The molar ratio of the bicarbonate and the monohydroxy compound again varies but it is advisable to
feed the aliphatic monohydroxy compound in the amount more than twice the number of moles of
The reaction vessel which should be used for this process can be a multistage distillation column as
shown in the figure.



1. and 2. : Inlet, 3. and 4.: Heat exchangers, 5.: Multistage distillation column, 6.: Column bottom liquid outlet, 7.: Column
bottom component outlet, 8.: Column top component outlet
The starting materials viz. aliphatic monohydroxy compound and sodium bicarbonate enter the
distillation column through inlets 1 and 2. The actual reaction occurs in the distillation column 5 and the
product can be isolated from the column top component outlet and column bottom component outlet.
The catalyst may be fed along with the reagents or through a different position to the starting material.
The reaction actually proceeds in the distillation column in a region below the position at which the
catalyst is fed in. Hence it is preferable to feed the catalyst into a region between the top of the column
and the positions at which the starting materials are fed in.

Advantages of the proposed process:

1. The method converts bicarbonate into a water insoluble derivative as desired by the seeker.

2. Almost 100 % of the carbon contained in the starting material gets consumed.

3. The product i.e. aliphatic carbonate is absolutely stable at the temperature stated by the seeker.

4. The materials required for the method are readily available and the catalyst can be alkali earth
metals which are cheap and readily available. The method can work even without the catalyst as
the by product produced i.e. sodium hydroxide itself may work as a catalyst. Even though better
yields will be obtained in a lesser time if a solid ion exchange resin is used as catalyst.

5. There is practically no carbon dioxide release at the end of the process.

6. The derivative produced here has as such no therapeutic use. But it can be used for the
synthesis of aromatic polycarbonates which has wide pharmaceutical applications. (Ref: US
patent : US2009/0118530 A1)