Production of aromatics from methanol via metal-exchanged zeolites
One of the main challenges that society is currently facing is the development of oil-independent industrial and economic systems. It is well known that we need to become petroleum independent both because of the progressive depletion of the crude oil reserves and because the many problems derived from the use of petroleum. When we think about the use of crude-oil, we generally focus on gasoline, diesel or any other petroleum derivative that we use to be burned or for transportation but we rarely think about chemicals, and the current consumption of chemicals is also keeping us from reaching an oil-independent economic system. That is why alternative routes to oil-based processes for the production of chemicals are highly needed.
Light aromatics (benzene, toluene and xylenes) are widely used as intermediates in the petrochemical industry. They are traditionally produced via catalytic reforming or steam cracking of naphta fractions, but it is also possible to directly convert methanol into aromatics (MTA) as well as hydrogen as by-product. Due to the wide availability of methanol from quite diverse carbon sources (such as natural gas, coal, biomass, etc.) this alternative process is attracting great attention.
The MTA transformation falls into the general group of the so-called methanol to hydrocarbons transformations (MTH), which are typically catalyzed by zeolitic materials; mainly ZSM-5 zeolite and SAPO-34 silicoaluminophosphate. In the case of MTA, the zeolites are ion-exchanged with a transition metal that provides the catalytic system with dehydrogenation activity. These extra active sites incorporated in the catalysts will enhance the formation of aromatics leading the reaction through a pathway in which the production of undesired molecules, such as alkanes, is minimized and molecular hydrogen is formed instead.
The vision of the project is, then, to understand the nature of the active sites in order to facilitate the development of an improved catalyst and, in parallel, to establish the optimal MTA conditions for the industrial application of the process.
Pinilla-Herrero, I.; Borfecchia, E.; Holzinger, J.; Mentzel, U. V.; Joensen, F.; Lomachenko, K. A.; Bordiga, S.; Lamberti, C.; Berlier, G.; Olsbye, U.; Svelle, S.; Skibsted, J.; Beato, P., High Zn/Al ratios enhance dehydrogenation vs hydrogen transfer reactions of Zn-ZSM-5 catalytic systems in methanol conversion to aromatics. Journal of Catalysis 2018, 362, 146-163. DOI 10.1016/j.jcat.2018.03.032
Pinilla Herrero, Irene; Borfecchia, Elisa; Mentzel, Uffe V.; Joensen, Finn; Lillerud, Karl Petter; Olsbye, Unni; Lamberti, Carlo; Berlier, Gloria; Svelle, Stian; Beato, Pablo.
Dehydrogenation vs hydrogen transfer activity of Zn-ZSM-5 catalytic systems in methanol conversion to aromatics. Norwegian symposium on catalysis 2017; 2017-11-06 - 2017-11-07
Pinilla Herrero, Irene; Borfecchia, Elisa; Mentzel, Uffe V.; Joensen, Finn; Olsbye, Unni; Lamberti, Carlo; Berlier, Gloria; Svelle, Stian; Beato, Pablo.
High Zn/Al ratios enhance the dehydrogenation activity of Zn_ZSM-5 catalytic systems in methanol conversion to aromatics. 7th FEZA Conference; 2017-07-03 - 2017-07-07
This project is funded by the Innovation Fund Denmark