S. Svelle

Collective action of water molecules in zeolite dealumination

M. Nielsen, A. Hafreager, R. Brogaard, K. De Wispelaere, H. Falsig, P. Beato, V. Van Speybroeck, S. Svelle
Catalysis Science & Technology
9 (14), 3721-3725
2019
A1

Abstract 

When exposed to steam, zeolite catalysts are irreversibly deactivated by loss of acidity and framework degradation caused by dealumination. Steaming typically occurs at elevated temperatures, making it challenging to investigate the mechanism with most approaches. Herein, we follow the dynamics of zeolite dealumination in situ, in the presence of a realistic loading of water molecules by means of enhanced sampling molecular dynamics simulations. H-SSZ-13 zeolite is chosen as a target system. Monte Carlo simulations predict a loading of more than 3 water molecules per unit cell at representative steaming conditions (450 °C, 1 bar steam). Our results show that a higher water loading lowers the free energy barrier of dealumination, as water molecules cooperate to facilitate hydrolysis of Al–O bonds. We find free energies of activation for dealumination that agree well with the available experimental measurements. Clearly, the use of enhanced sampling molecular dynamics yields a major step forward in the molecular level understanding of the dealumination; insight which is very hard to derive experimentally.

Gold Open Access

Understanding zeolite-catalyzed benzene methylation reactions by methanol and dimethyl ether at operating conditions from first principle microkinetic modeling and experiments

K. De Wispelaere, J. S. Martínez-Espín, M. J. Hoffmann, S. Svelle, U. Olsbye, T. Bligaard
Catalysis Today
312, 35-43
2018
A1

Abstract 

In methanol-to-hydrocarbon chemistry, methanol and dimethyl ether (DME) can act as methylating agents. Therefore, we focus on the different reactivity of methanol and DME towards benzene methylation in H-ZSM-5 at operating conditions by combining first principles microkinetic modeling and experiments. Methylation reactions are known to follow either a concerted reaction path or a stepwise mechanism going through a framework-bound methoxide. By constructing a DFT based microkinetic model including the concerted and stepwise reactions, product formation rates can be calculated at conditions that closely mimic the experimentally applied conditions. Trends in measured rates are relatively well reproduced by our DFT based microkinetic model. We find that benzene methylation with DME is faster than with methanol but the difference decreases with increasing temperature. At low temperatures, the concerted mechanism dominates, however at higher temperatures and low pressures the mechanism shifts to the stepwise pathway. This transition occurs at lower temperatures for methanol than for DME, resulting in smaller reactivity differences between methanol and DME at high temperature. Our theory-experiment approach shows that the widely assumed rate law with zeroth and first order in oxygenate and hydrocarbon partial pressure is not generally applicable and depends on the applied temperature, pressure and feed composition.

Hydrogen transfer versus methylation: on the genesis of aromatics formation in the Methanol-To-Hydrocarbons over H-ZSM-5

J. S. Martínez-Espín, K. De Wispelaere, T. V. Janssens, S. Svelle, K. P. Lillerud, P. Beato, V. Van Speybroeck, U. Olsbye
ACS Catalysis
7, 5773–5780
2017
A1

Abstract 

The catalytic conversion of methanol (MeOH) and dimethyl ether (DME) into fuels and chemicals over zeolites (MTH process) is industrially emerging as an alternative route to conventional oil-derived processes. After 40 years of research, a detailed mechanistic understanding of the intricate reaction network is still not fully accomplished. The overall reaction is described as two competitive catalytic cycles, dominated by alkenes and arenes, which are methylated and cracked or dealkylated to form effluent products. Herein, we present the reaction of isobutene with methanol and DME as an efficient tool for measuring the relative formation rates of alkenes and arenes, and we provide detailed mechanistic insight into the hydrogen-transfer reaction. We provide experimental and theoretical evidence that manifest a strong competition of methylation and hydrogen transfer of isobutene by methanol, while methylation is substantially favored by DME. Experiments performed at higher conversion facilitate projection of the results to the product distribution obtained when using MeOH or DME as feedstock during the MTH reaction.

Benzene co-reaction with methanol and dimethyl ether over zeolite and zeotype catalysts: Evidence of parallel reaction paths to toluene and diphenylmethane

J. S. Martínez-Espín, K. De Wispelaere, M. Westgård Erichsen, S. Svelle, T. V. Janssens, V. Van Speybroeck, P. Beato, U. Olsbye
Journal of Catalysis
349, 136-148
2017
A1

Abstract 

The reactivity of methanol (MeOH) and dimethyl ether (DME) toward benzene was studied over zeolitic materials with different topology and acid strength (H-ZSM-5, H-SSZ-24, and H-SAPO-5) at 250–350 °C. Higher rates of methylation, and subsequent de-alkylation reactions, were observed with DME compared to MeOH. In addition, significant differences in product distribution based on the choice of methylating agent were observed. For reactions between MeOH and benzene a fraction of diphenylmethanes (DPMs) was formed, while this product group was nearly absent during reactions between DME and benzene. A range of co-feed and isotopic labeling experiments was performed, mainly over H-ZSM-5, in order to elucidate mechanistic information on the pathway from methanol and benzene to DPMs. Overall, these studies revealed that DPM formation involves the dehydrogenation of methanol to formaldehyde on the Brønsted acid site, followed by subsequent reaction with two benzene molecules. Theoretical calculations confirmed the higher reactivity of DME compared to MeOH toward benzene methylation and suggested a plausible route from formaldehyde and benzene to DPM.

Open Access version available at UGent repository
Green Open Access

How zeolitic acid strength and composition alter the reactivity of alkenes and aromatics towards methanol

M.W. Erichsen, K. De Wispelaere, K. Hemelsoet, S.L. Moors, T. Deconinck, M. Waroquier, S. Svelle, V. Van Speybroeck, U. Olsbye
Journal of Catalysis
328, 186-196
2015
A1

Abstract 

This work encompasses a combined experimental and theoretical assessment of how zeolitic acid strength and composition affects acid-catalysed methylation reactions. Overall, higher methylation rates were observed over the material with higher acid strength. Co-reactions of methanol with benzene at 250 degrees C over the two isostructural AFI materials H-SSZ-24 and H-SAPO-5 revealed large differences in selectivity. While the stronger acidic H-SSZ-24 mainly produced toluene and polymethylbenzenes, high yields of C4+ aliphatics were observed over H-SAPO-5. These results strongly suggest that alkene methylation was preferred over H-SAPO-5 even at very low conversion during methanol/benzene co-reactions. Furthermore, a comparison of benzene and propene methylation at 350-400 degrees C revealed a significantly faster rate of benzene than propene methylation in H-SSZ-24, whereas the rates of benzene and propene methylation were similar in H-SAPO-5. The observed difference in reactivity of the two hydrocarbons in both catalysts could be understood by careful analysis of various molecular dynamics simulations of the co-adsorbed complexes. The probability to form protonated methanol was, as expected, higher in the more acidic material. However, in H-SSZ-24, the probability for methanol protonation was higher when co-adsorbed with benzene than when co-adsorbed with propene, while the same was not observed in H-SAPO-5. Furthermore, it was found that benzene and methanol are more likely to form a reactive co-adsorbed complex in H-SSZ-24 compared to propene and methanol, while the opposite was observed for H-SAPO-5. This work shows that molecular dynamics simulations provide insights into the adsorption behaviour of guest molecules in large pore AFI materials. The obtained insights correlate with the experimentally observed reactivities. (C) 2015 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

Open Access version available at UGent repository

Methylation of benzene by methanol: single-site kinetics over H-ZSM-5 and H-beta zeolite catalysts

J. Van der Mynsbrugge, M. Visur, U. Olsbye, P. Beato, M. Bjørgen, V. Van Speybroeck, S. Svelle
Journal of Catalysis
292, 201-212
2012
A1

Abstract 

Benzenemethylation by methanol is studied on acidic zeolitesH-ZSM-5 (MFI) and H-beta (BEA) to investigate the influence of the catalyst topology on the reaction rate. Experimental kinetic measurements at 350 °C using extremely high feed rates to suppress side reactions show that methylation occurs considerably faster on H-ZSM-5 than on H-beta. Theoretical rate constants, obtained from first-principles simulations on extended zeolite clusters, reproduce a higher methylation rate on H-ZSM-5 and provide additional insight into the various molecular effects that contribute to the overall differences between the two catalysts. The calculations indicate this higher methylation rate is primarily due to an optimal confinement of the reacting species in the medium pore material. Co-adsorption of methanol and benzene is energetically favored in H-ZSM-5 compared with H-beta, to the extent that the stabilizing host–guest interactions outweigh the greater entropy loss upon benzene adsorption in H-ZSM-5 vs. in H-beta.

Open Access version available at UGent repository

The effects of methanol or dimethyl ether as methylating agent during zeolite catalysed benzene methylation

ISBN/ISSN:
Talk

Conference / event / venue 

12th European Congress on Catalysis (Europacat XII)
Kazan, Russia
Sunday, 30 August, 2015 to Friday, 4 September, 2015

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