CATalyst transformations and LIFEtime by in-situ techniques and modeling (CATLIFE) (completed)

Due to the acidic and shape-selective properties, microporous zeolites have found widespread applications in catalytic and separation processes within the refining and petrochemical industries. With the addition of the silicoaluminophosphate (SAPO) molecular sieve materials in the eighties new possibilities opened up. From various conversions of hydrocarbons, Methanol-to-Olefins process to the reduction of NOx emissions, promising future developments and applications for SAPO materials can be easily envisaged. However, even with the good performance in many reactions the catalysts deactivate with time by coking and/or structural degeneration. Improvement and understanding of long-term performance are therefore key research topics of CATLIFE.

Left: Overview of SAPO materials current and future applications. Right: Schematic drawings of the structures that will be compared in CATLIFE.

About the Project

In heterogeneous catalytic reactions, deactivation of the catalysts is an omnipresent issue. For zeolites and SAPOs, deactivation consists in dealumination or aggregation of Si atoms to so-called Si-islands causing loss of acidity. This project will add detailed knowledge and models describing the SAPOs structural change and performance loss during long term use. CATLIFE's strategy is the following:

1. Material preparation. Synthesis of SAPO-18, SAPO-34, and SAPO-37 materials according to well-established procedures.
2. Pre- and post-treatment characterization of synthesized material by state of the art NMR and XRD facilities. SEM and EDS analyses for morphological and element analyses and BET adsorption isotherms are complementary techniques.
3. In-situ NMR and XRD studies  to probe early stage Si reactions and to observe long range effects on the SAPO catalysts during steaming at temperatures as high as 400°C.
4. Long term deactivation studies by prolonged flush of the sample at high temperature and by subsequent burning of the coke to reproduce industrial conditions.
5. Modelling of initial stages of catalyst degradations and Si island structures using periodic DFT methods for the investigation of different deactivation processes.

Main objective

Improve the understanding of the transformation/degeneration processes of selected catalyst materials (namely SAPO-18, SAPO-34 and the SAPO-37) during (industrial) use, relevant for applications within oil and gas upgrading, ethene and propene production from methanol, and in potential deNOx applications.


This project will give a comprehensive understanding of structural deactivation of SAPO catalysts and will reveal structure-activity relationships throughout the lifetime of the catalysts with possibilities of improvement of catalyst formulations and more realistic material deactivation models.

Competences and tools

This project stands on an existing relationship and complementary expertise at UiO and SINTEF focusing on leading edge techniques that are relevant for establishing structure/function relationships in catalytic materials. Taking advantage of the insightful knowledge and the extensive experience gathered in previous joint projects (InterCAT, inGAP MTO, etc..), the Chemistry Department and SINTEF posses the laboratory facilities and relevant competences for synthesis and test of the next generation microporous catalysts.


This project is financed by the Research Council of Norway.


This project is a collaboration between the Chemistry Department at UiO and SINTEF, with the INOVYN (at INEOS Chlorvinyls) as observer industrial partner.

Published Dec. 13, 2017 1:43 PM - Last modified Dec. 13, 2017 1:43 PM