Complexes of cobalt and nickel with tridentate ligand PNHP.sup.R are effective for hydrogenation of unsaturated compounds. Cobalt complex [(PNHP.sup.Cy)Co(CH.sub.2SiMe.sub.3)]BAr.sup.F.sub.4 (PNHP.sup.Cy=bis[2-(dicyclohexylphosphino)ethyl]amine, BAr.sup.F.sub.4=B(3,5-(CF.sub.3).sub.2C.sub.6H.sub.3).sub.4)) was prepared and used with hydrogen for hydrogenation of alkenes, aldehydes, ketones, and imines under mild conditions (25-60.degree. C., 1-4 atm H.sub.2). Nickel complex [(PNHP.sup.Cy)Ni(H)]BPh.sub.4 was used for hydrogenation of styrene and 1-octene under mild conditions. (PNP.sup.Cy)Ni(H) was used for hydrogenating alkenes.
STATEMENT REGARDING FEDERAL RIGHTS
This invention was made with government support under Contract No. DE-AC52-06NA25396 awarded by the U.S. Department of Energy. The government has certain rights in the invention.