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ITQ-39 zeolite, an efficient catalyst for the conversion of low value naphtha fractions into diesel fuel: The role of pore size on molecular diffusion and reactivity

Martínez-Armero, Marta E., Moliner, Manuel, Sastre, German, Rey, Fernando, Martínez, Cristina, Corma, Avelino
Journal of catalysis 2016 v.333 pp. 127-138
acidity, alkylation, catalysts, catalytic activity, crystallites, diesel fuel, diffusivity, molecular dynamics, porosity, zeolites
ITQ-39, a multipore zeolite with interconnected 12- and 10-ring channel systems, effectively catalyzes the alkylation of two low value naphtha fractions for the production of diesel range alkylaromatics. A catalytic and molecular dynamics study allows us to conclude that its higher selectivity to the desired diesel fraction and, especially, its longer catalyst life as compared to beta or MCM-22, conventionally used as heterogeneous alkylation catalysts, are due to the combined contribution of its small nano-sized crystallites, moderate Brønsted acidity and unique framework topology.The small diffusion coefficients obtained for alkylaromatics on ITQ-39 as compared to those corresponding to the large pore beta zeolite evidence the significant diffusional problems of most of the reactants and products through the channels of the ITQ-39 structure. Thus, alkylation reactions on this zeolite seem to occur mainly on the most external acid sites (external surface, pore mouths), whereas the zeolite structure contributes positively by preventing undesired reactions to occur, which would result in lower selectivity to the monoalkylated products and in a faster catalyst deactivation.