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Cage-Defining Ring: A Molecular Sieve Structural Indicator for Light Olefin Product Distribution from the Methanol-to-Olefins Reaction

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journal contribution
posted on 11.04.2019, 00:00 by Jong Hun Kang, Faisal H. Alshafei, Stacey I. Zones, Mark E. Davis
The methanol-to-olefins (MTO) process produces high-value-added light olefins from nonpetroleum sources. Acidic zeotypes containing cages bounded by 8-ring (small-pore) windows can effectively catalyze the MTO reaction, since their cages can accommodate the necessary aromatic intermediates that produce the light olefin products that escape. While progress on the mechanisms of the MTO reaction continues, zeotype structure–reaction property relationships have yet to be elucidated. Here, we report MTO reaction results from various small-pore, cage-containing silicoaluminophosphate/metalloaluminophosphates (SAPO/MAPOs) and zeolites under the same reaction conditions. The MTO behaviors of microporous materials having the following topologies are investigated: LEV, ERI, CHA, AFX, SFW, AEI, DDR, RTH, ITE, SAV, LTA, RHO, KFI, and UFI. The previous observation that light olefin product distributions from a series of small-pore, cage-containing zeolites can be classified into four structural categories is further supported by the results shown here from zeolite structures not investigated in the previous study and SAPO and MAPO materials with isostructural frameworks to all the zeolites. Additionally, these data reveal that light olefin product distributions are very similar over a given topology independent of framework composition. To develop a structure–property relationship between the framework topology and the MTO light olefin product distribution, the concept of the cage-defining ring size is introduced. The cage-defining ring size is defined as the minimum number of tetrahedral atoms of the ring encircling the center of the framework cages in the molecular sieve topology. It is shown that the cage-defining ring size correlates with MTO light olefin product distribution.