The new process aims at removing nitrogen from nitrogen-containing aromatic compounds such as pyridine and quinoline and is important in refining petroleum, shale oil or biomass as it improves the efficiency of hydrocracking. An international research team at RIKEN which included Chinese researchers from Dalian University of Science and Technology, China, mixed the highly active titanium hydride under argon gas with pyridine. Pyridine reacted promptly at room temperature, one carbon-hydrogen bond in pyridine was cleaved, and pyridine was converted to a titanium hydride-pyridine complex. When this complex was heated at 60 ° C for about 12 hours, the two carbon-nitrogen bonds in the pyridine complex were cleaved, and the hydrocarbon could completely be separated.

RIKEN news release, November 30, 2017