J. Gascon

A Supramolecular View on the Cooperative Role of Brønsted andLewis Acid Sites in Zeolites for Methanol Conversion

S. Bailleul, I. Yarulina, A.E.J. Hoffman, A. Dokania, E. Abou-Hamad, A. Dutta Chowdhury, G. Pieters, J. Hajek, K. De Wispelaere, M. Waroquier, J. Gascon, V. Van Speybroeck
JACS (Journal of the American Chemical Society)
141 (37), 14823-14842


A systematic molecular level and spectroscopic investigation is presented to show the cooperative role of Brønsted acid and Lewis acid sites in zeolites for the conversion of methanol. Extra-framework alkaline-earth metal containing species and aluminum species decrease the number of Brønsted acid sites, as protonated metal clusters are formed. A combined experimental and theoretical effort shows that postsynthetically modified ZSM-5 zeolites, by incorporation of extra-framework alkaline-earth metals or by demetalation with dealuminating agents, contain both mononuclear [MOH]+ and double protonated binuclear metal clusters [M(μ-OH)2M]2+ (M = Mg, Ca, Sr, Ba, and HOAl). The metal in the extra-framework clusters has a Lewis acid character, which is confirmed experimentally and theoretically by IR spectra of adsorbed pyridine. The strength of the Lewis acid sites (Mg > Ca > Sr > Ba) was characterized by a blue shift of characteristic IR peaks, thus offering a tool to sample Lewis acidity experimentally. The incorporation of extra-framework Lewis acid sites has a substantial influence on the reactivity of propene and benzene methylations. Alkaline-earth Lewis acid sites yield increased benzene methylation barriers and destabilization of typical aromatic intermediates, whereas propene methylation routes are less affected. The effect on the catalytic function is especially induced by the double protonated binuclear species. Overall, the extra-framework metal clusters have a dual effect on the catalytic function. By reducing the number of Brønsted acid sites and suppressing typical catalytic reactions in which aromatics are involved, an optimal propene selectivity and increased lifetime for methanol conversion over zeolites is obtained. The combined experimental and theoretical approach gives a unique insight into the nature of the supramolecular zeolite catalyst for methanol conversion which can be meticulously tuned by subtle interplay of Brønsted and Lewis acid sites.

Open Access version available at UGent repository
Gold Open Access

Effect of zeolite topology and reactor configuration on the direct conversion of CO2 to light olefins and aromatics

A. Ramirez Galilea, A. Dutta Chowdhury, A. Dokania, P. Cnudde, M. Caglayan, I. Yarulina, E. Abou-Hamad, L. Gevers, S. Ould-Chikh, K. De Wispelaere, V. Van Speybroeck, J. Gascon
ACS Catalysis
9, 6320-6334

Structure–performance descriptors and the role of Lewis acidity in the methanol-to-propylene process

I. Yarulina, K. De Wispelaere, S. Bailleul, J. Goetze, M. Radersma, E. Abou-Hamad, I. Vollmer, M. Goesten, B. Mezari, E.J.M. Hensen, J. S. Martínez-Espín, M. Morten, S. Mitchell, J. Perez-Ramirez, U. Olsbye, B.M. Weckhuysen, V. Van Speybroeck, F. Kapteijn, J. Gascon
Nature Chemistry
10 (8), 804-812


The combination of well-defined acid sites, shape-selective properties and outstanding stability places zeolites among the most practically relevant heterogeneous catalysts. The development of structure–performance descriptors for processes that they catalyse has been a matter of intense debate, both in industry and academia, and the direct conversion of methanol to olefins is a prototypical system in which various catalytic functions contribute to the overall performance. Propylene selectivity and resistance to coking are the two most important parameters in developing new methanol-to-olefin catalysts. Here, we present a systematic investigation on the effect of acidity on the performance of the zeolite ‘ZSM-5’ for the production of propylene. Our results demonstrate that the isolation of Brønsted acid sites is key to the selective formation of propylene. Also, the introduction of Lewis acid sites prevents the formation of coke, hence drastically increasing catalyst lifetime.

Metal-organic and covalent organic frameworks as single-site catalysts

S.M.J. Rogge, A. Bavykina, J. Hajek, H. Garcia, A.I. Olivos-Suarez, A. Sepúlveda-Escribano, A. Vimont, G. Clet, P. Bazin, F. Kapteijn, M. Daturi, E.V. Ramos-Fernandez, F.X. Llabres i Xamena, V. Van Speybroeck, J. Gascon
Chemical Society Reviews
46 (11), 3134-3184


Heterogeneous single-site catalysts consist of isolated, well-defined, active sites that are spatially separated in a given solid and, ideally, structurally identical. In this review, the potential of metal–organic frameworks (MOFs) and covalent organic frameworks (COFs) as platforms for the development of heterogeneous single-site catalysts is reviewed thoroughly. In the first part of this article, synthetic strategies and progress in the implementation of such sites in these two classes of materials are discussed. Because these solids are excellent playgrounds to allow a better understanding of catalytic functions, we highlight the most important recent advances in the modelling and spectroscopic characterization of single-site catalysts based on these materials. Finally, we discuss the potential of MOFs as materials in which several single-site catalytic functions can be combined within one framework along with their potential as powerful enzyme-mimicking materials. The review is wrapped up with our personal vision on future research directions.

Open Access version available at UGent repository
Gold Open Access

Suppression of the Aromatic Cycle in Methanol-to-Olefins Reaction over ZSM-5 by Post-Synthetic Modification Using Calcium

I. Yarulina, S. Bailleul, A. Pustovarenko, J. Ruiz-Martinez, K. De Wispelaere, J. Hajek, B.M. Weckhuysen, K. Houben, M. Baldus, V. Van Speybroeck, F. Kapteijn, J. Gascon
8 (19) 3057–3063


Incorporation of Ca in ZSM-5 results in a twofold increase of propylene selectivity (53 %), a total light-olefin selectivity of 90 %, and a nine times longer catalyst lifetime (throughput 792 gMeOH gcatalyst−1) in the methanol-to-olefins (MTO) reaction. Analysis of the product distribution and theoretical calculations reveal that post-synthetic modification with Ca2+ leads to the formation of CaOCaOH+ that strongly weaken the acid strength of the zeolite. As a result, the rate of hydride transfer and oligomerization reactions on these sites is greatly reduced, resulting in the suppression of the aromatic cycle. Our results further highlight the importance of acid strength on product selectivity and zeolite lifetime in MTO chemistry.

New V-IV-Based Metal-Organic Framework Having Framework Flexibility and High CO2 Adsorption Capacity

Y-Y Liu, S. Couck, M. Vandichel, M. Grzywa, K. Leus, S. Biswas, D. Volkmer, J. Gascon, F. Kapteijn, J.F.M. Denayer, M. Waroquier, V. Van Speybroeck, P. Van der Voort
Inorganic Chemistry
52 (1), 113-120


A vanadium based metal–organic framework (MOF), VO(BPDC) (BPDC2– = biphenyl-4,4′-dicarboxylate), adopting an expanded MIL-47 structure type, has been synthesized via solvothermal and microwave methods. Its structural and gas/vapor sorption properties have been studied. This compound displays a distinct breathing effect toward certain adsorptives at workable temperatures. The sorption isotherms of CO2 and CH4 indicate a different sorption behavior at specific temperatures. In situ synchrotron X-ray powder diffraction measurements and molecular simulations have been utilized to characterize the structural transition. The experimental measurements clearly suggest the existence of both narrow pore and large pore forms. A free energy profile along the pore angle was computationally determined for the empty host framework. Apart from a regular large pore and a regular narrow pore form, an overstretched narrow pore form has also been found. Additionally, a variety of spectroscopic techniques combined with N2 adsorption/desorption isotherms measured at 77 K demonstrate that the existence of the mixed oxidation states VIII/VIV in the titled MOF structure compared to pure VIV increases the difficulty in triggering the flexibility of the framework.

A new series of V IV based metal-organic frameworks having framework flexibility and high CO2 adsorption capacity


Conference / event / venue 

Edinburgh UK
Sunday, 16 September, 2012 to Wednesday, 19 September, 2012
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