open access publication

Article, 2023

Ammonia borane-enabled hydrogen transfer processes: Insights into catalytic strategies and mechanisms

In: Green Energy & Environment, ISSN 2096-2797, 2468-0257, Volume 8, 4, Pages 948-971, 10.1016/j.gee.2022.03.011

Contributors (5)

Zhao, Wenfeng [1] Li, Hu (0000-0003-3604-9271) (Corresponding author) [1] Zhang, Heng (0000-0001-8436-5549) [1] Yang, Song (0000-0003-1301-3030) (Corresponding author) [1] Riisager, Anders (0000-0002-7086-1143) (Corresponding author) [2]


  1. [1] Guizhou University
  2. [NORA names: China; Asia, East]
  3. [2] Technical University of Denmark
  4. [NORA names: DTU Technical University of Denmark; University; Denmark; Europe, EU; Nordic; OECD]


Transfer hydrogenation (TH) with in situ generated hydrogen donor is of great importance in reduction reactions, and an alternative strategy to traditional hydrogenation processes involving pressurized molecular hydrogen. Ammonia borane (NH3BH3, AB) is a promising material of hydrogen storage, and it has attracted much attention in reductive organic transformations owing to its high activity, good atom economy, non-toxicity, sustainability, and ease of transport and storage. This review focuses on summarizing the recent progress of AB-mediated TH reactions of diverse substrates including nitro compounds, nitriles, imines, alkenes, alkynes, carbonyl compounds (ketones and aldehydes), carbon dioxide, and N- and O-heterocycles. Syntheses protocols (metal-containing and metal-free), the effect of reaction parameters, product distribution, and variation of reactivity are surveyed, and the mechanism of each reaction involving the action mode of AB as well as structure-activity relationships is discussed in detail. Finally, perspectives are presented to highlight the challenges and opportunities for AB-enabled TH reactions of unsaturated compounds.


Ab, O-heterocycles, TH reaction, action mode, activity, alkenes, alkynes, alternative strategy, ammonia borane, atom economy, attention, borane, carbon dioxide, carbonyl compounds, catalytic strategy, challenges, compounds, detail, dioxide, distribution, diverse substrates, donors, ease, ease of transport, economy, effect, good atom economy, great importance, high activity, hydrogen, hydrogen donor, hydrogen storage, hydrogenation, hydrogenation process, imines, importance, insights, materials, mechanism, mode, molecular hydrogen, nitriles, nitro compounds, opportunities, organic transformations, parameters, perspective, process, product distribution, progress, promising material, reaction, reaction parameters, reactivity, recent progress, reduction reaction, relationship, review, situ, storage, strategies, structure-activity relationships, substrate, sustainability, synthesis, traditional hydrogenation process, transfer hydrogenation, transformation, transport, variation, variation of reactivity


  • National Natural Science Foundation of China
  • Ministry of Education of the People's Republic of China