Is it feasible to convert carboxylic acids to alcohols? I know the reverse is done during the oxidation of alcohols (e.g. in the production of vinegar), but is it possible to do it the other way round?

For example: the conversion of methanoic/formic acid ($\ce{HCOOH}$) to methanol ($\ce{CH3OH}$)?

  • $\begingroup$ use LiAlH4 followed by hydrolysis,or convert acid to ester then use Ni/H2 or Pd/H2 or pt/H2 or B2H6 $\endgroup$ – Abhishek Pallippara gopakumar Mar 26 '16 at 9:33

Directly using $\ce{LiAlH4}$ works, but borane is probably a better choice:

Borane ($\ce{BH3}$) is particularly good for carboxyl groups and permits selective reduction of them in the presence of many other groups (although the reaction with double bonds takes place at about the same rate in ether solvents). For many years, borane was the reagent of choice for this reduction. Borane also reduces carboxylic acid salts. (March 7ed, p 1515)

Clayden 2ed, pp 531-2 also discusses the borane reduction. Here's a small portion of it:

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