Methods for the epoxidation of alkenes are provided. The methods include the steps of exposing the alkene to a two-component catalyst system in an aqueous solution in the presence of carbon monoxide and molecular oxygen under conditions in which the alkene is epoxidized. The two-component catalyst system comprises a first catalyst that generates peroxides or peroxy intermediates during oxidation of CO with molecular oxygen and a second catalyst that catalyzes the epoxidation of the alkene using the peroxides or peroxy intermediates. A catalyst system composed of particles of suspended gold and titanium silicalite is one example of a suitable two-component catalyst system.
STATEMENT REGARDING FEDERALLY SPONSORED RESEARCH OR DEVELOPMENT
This invention was made with government support under DE-FG02-01ER15184 awarded by Department of Energy. The government has certain rights in the invention.