Exploration of non-commodity zeolite frameworks for small molecule activation: acidity, reactivity and coke formation

Zeolites are widely used solid catalysts. Although there are more than 235 zeolite frameworks reported, almost all zeolite-based catalytic processes are performed by a limited number of frameworks. These are the so-called Big Five: FAU, MFI, FER, MOR and BEA. More recently, SAPO-34 and SSZ-13 with the CHA structure became important catalysts in e.g. methanol-to-hydrocarbon process and selective catalytic reduction of NOx.

Since industry wishes to develop more sustainable conversion processes, it is crucial to explore the properties of less conventional zeolite frameworks. In this research project, several non-commodity zeolite framework structures are investigated as examples of small molecule activation processes. To gather detailed physicochemical insights of these materials, a wide variety of bulk and local characterization methods will be used, while their performance is studied in the methanol-to-olefins (MTO) process as showcase. The latter allows making comparisons with current MTO catalysts.

Robert Terörde

Senior research manager - Catalysis research

Bert Weckhuysen

Professor of Inorganic chemistry and catalysis
Utrecht University