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Hydrogen Transfer Pathways during Zeolite Catalyzed Methanol Conversion to Hydrocarbons

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journal contribution
posted on 16.11.2016, 00:00 authored by Sebastian Müller, Yue Liu, Felix M. Kirchberger, Markus Tonigold, Maricruz Sanchez-Sanchez, Johannes A. Lercher
Hydrogen transfer is the major route in catalytic conversion of methanol to olefins (MTO) for the formation of nonolefinic byproducts, including alkanes and aromatics. Two separate, noninterlinked hydrogen transfer pathways have been identified. In the absence of methanol, hydrogen transfer occurs between olefins and naphthenes via protonation of the olefin and the transfer of the hydride to the carbenium ion. A hitherto unidentified hydride transfer pathway involving Lewis and Brønsted acid sites dominates as long as methanol is present in the reacting mixture, leading to aromatics and alkanes. Experiments with purely Lewis acidic ZSM-5 showed that methanol and propene react on Lewis acid sites to HCHO and propane. In turn, HCHO reacts with olefins stepwise to aromatic molecules on Brønsted acid sites. The aromatic molecules formed at Brønsted acid sites have a high tendency to convert to irreversibly adsorbed carbonaceous deposits and are responsible for the critical deactivation in the methanol to olefin process.