The development of robust and industrially viable catalysts from plastic waste is of great significance, and the facile construction of high performance heterogeneous catalyst systems for phenol–quinone conversions remains a grand challenge. Herein, a feasible strategy is demonstrated to reclaim Styrofoam into hierarchically porous nickel–salen–loaded hypercrosslinked polystyrene (PS@Ni–salen) catalysts with high activities through an unusual autocatalytic coupling route. The salen is immobilized onto PS chain by Friedel–Crafts alkylation of benzyl chloride derivatives, and the generated hydrogen chloride coordinately promotes the simultaneous crosslinking and bridge formation between aromatic rings via a Scholl coupling route, leading to hierarchically porous networks. After the metallization with Ni, the resultant networks exhibit high catalytic activity for the oxidation of 2,3,6-trimethylphenol to 2,3,5-trimethyl-1,4-benzoquinone under mild conditions (303 K, 1 bar of O2). This catalyst also demonstrates attractive recycling performance without an obvious loss of catalytic efficiency over five consecutive cycles. This methodology might provide a potential sustainable alternative to construct environmentally benign and cost-effective catalysts for specific organic transformation.
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- cooperative reactions
- heterogeneous catalysts
- porous organic polymers