Safer, Cheaper Alternative for Butyllithium
Product Announcement from GFS Chemicals, Inc.
Specialty chemical manufacturer GFS Chemicals, Inc., has developed an innovative new process for synthesis of alkynyl esters. The new process replaces butyllithium with an alternate chemical that reduces the costs and risks associated with ester production.
“Butyllithium is expensive to ship and store, and degrades over time,” says Dr. Lee Cherney, Research and Development Director for GFS Chemicals. “By replacing butyllithium with more stable compounds, we can reduce the costs and safety risks associated with alkynyl ester synthesis and pass those savings on to our customers.”
Butyllithium is an organolithium reagent commonly used as a polymerization initiator for production of elastomers such as polybutadiene or styrene-butadiene-styrene (SBS). It is also used as a powerful base to make other organolithium intermediates used by the specialty organic chemical industry to make esters, alcohols, acids, and other compounds. However, while widely used, butyllithium has significant disadvantages. It is a hazardous material that is challenging to ship and store, and degrades significantly during storage. It is also highly flammable; butyllithium reactions present a significant fire hazard.
The process developed by GFS uses an alternative reaction for alkynyl ester production and does not rely on butyllithium or Grignard reagents. It provides a safer and cheaper alternative for ester synthesis.
Alkynyl esters, such as (e.g., Ethyl-2-heptynoate) have a number of industrial applications such as pharmaceutical intermediates and fragrances. GFS Chemicals now has several alkyne esters available through this new process. They are also working to apply this safer and cheaper technology to the synthesis of other functional alkynes.
“At GFS, product innovation is in our DNA,” says J. Steel Hutchinson, the third-generation owner and President of GFS Chemicals. “We’re always looking for ways to make our processes cheaper, safer and more sustainable. If we can help our clients find better alternatives for expensive, hazardous, or hard-to-source materials, we can help them be more profitable and more competitive.”
About GFS Chemicals, Inc.
GFS Chemicals, Inc. was established in 1928 and is a 3rd-generation, privately held business with facilities in Columbus and Powell, Ohio. GFS has three strategic business units: Inorganic Specialty Chemicals Manufacturing (high purity & anhydrous materials for critical applications), Organic Specialty Chemicals Manufacturing (acetylenes, olefins, silanes, halogenated compounds and specialty Grignards) and Research and Analytical Reagents (branded reagent laboratory chemicals). GFS has over 100 employees located at three separate manufacturing facilities and their administrative offices.