An improved process is described for the catalytic dehydrogenation of organic molecules having a ##STR1## group to produce a ##STR2## group. The organic molecules are: ##STR3## wherein: A.sup.1, A.sup.2, A.sup.3, and A.sup.4 are each independently P, As or N: E.sup.2 is independently C or N; E.sup.3 is independently C, Si or Ge; E.sup.4 is independently C, Si, or Ge; and E.sup.5 is independently C, Si or Ge; M.sup.1, M.sup.2, M.sup.3, and M.sup.4 each is a metal atom independently selected from the group consisting of ruthenium, rhodium, palladium, osmium, iridium and platinum; Q.sup.1, Q.sup.2, Q.sup.3, and Q.sup.4 are each independently a direct bond, --CH.sub.2 --, --CH.sub.2 CH.sub.2 --, or CH.dbd.CH--; in structure I, structure II or structure IV, R.sup.1, R.sup.2, R.sup.3, and R.sup.4 are each independently selected from alkyl, alkenyl, cycloalkyl, and aryl, or R.sup.1 and R.sup.2 together and R.sup.3 and R.sup.4 together form a ring structure having from 4 to 10 carbon atoms, or in structure III, R.sup.5, R.sup.6, R.sup.7, and R.sup.8 are each independently selected from alkyl, alkenyl, cycloalkyl, and aryl, or R.sup.5 and R.sup.6 together and R.sup.7 and R.sup.8 together form a ring structure having from 4 to 10 carbon atoms, at a temperature of between about 100.degree. and 250.degree. C. for between about 1 hr and 300 days in the absence of N.sub.2. The surprisingly stable catalyst is a complex of an organic ligand comprising H, C, Si, N, P atoms, and a platinum group metal. The dehydrogenation is performed between about 100 to 200.degree. C., and has increased turnover.
ORIGIN OF THE INVENTION
This invention was completed with funding in part from the U.S. Department of Energy (Hydrogen Program), Contract No. DE-FC36-94AL85804. The U.S. Government has certain rights in this invention.