What is hydrogenation?

There are many types of chemical reactions. Among that hydrogenation is one of the well known and vital chemical reaction. Let us know more about it.

What is hydrogenation reaction?

A reaction in which hydrogen molecules are added to an alkene is called a hydrogenation reaction also it is called a reduction reaction. Alkenes will undergo an addition reaction with hydrogen gas in the presence of a catalyst to form alkanes.  Most hydrogenations involve adding diatomic hydrogen (H2) directly, but some involve the alternative sources of hydrogen, not H2,  these processes are called hydrogen transfer.


Hydrogenation of ethene includes the addition of two hydrogen atom across the double bond of ethene, as a result, saturated ethane is formed. The reaction is more favoured because of the energy of the reactants is more compared to the energy of the product. The reaction is an example of an exothermic reaction.

CH2 = CH2 → CH3CH3


Listed below are the wide range of applications of the hydrogenation reaction

  • Hydrogenation reactions have been used widely in organic synthesis, both industrial and laboratory scale.
  • The hydrogenation reaction is used in the areas of diastereoselective and enantioselective reductions
  • Used in the stereoselective reduction of carbonyl groups.
  • Hydrogenation at high temperature leads to several undesirable side reactions, in particular, the production of trans fatty acids which have been linked to coronary heart disease.

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