Effect of Zeolite Topology and Reactor Configuration on the Direct Conversion of CO2 to Light Olefins and Aromatics

Adrian Ramirez, Abhishek Dutta Chowdhury, Abhay Dokania, Pieter Cnudde, Mustafa Caglayan, Irina Yarulina, Edy Abou-Hamad, Lieven Gevers, Samy Ould-Chikh, Kristof De Wispelaere, Veronique Van Speybroeck, Jorge Gascon

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128 Scopus citations


The direct transformation of CO2 into high-value-added hydrocarbons (i.e., olefins and aromatics) has the potential to make a decisive impact in our society. However, despite the efforts of the scientific community, no direct synthetic route exists today to synthesize olefins and aromatics from CO2 with high productivities and low undesired CO selectivity. Herein, we report the combination of a series of catalysts comprising potassium superoxide doped iron oxide and a highly acidic zeolite (ZSM-5 and MOR) that directly convert CO2 to either light olefins (in MOR) or aromatics (in ZSM-5) with high space–time yields (STYC2-C4= = 11.4 mmol·g–1·h–1; STYAROM = 9.2 mmol·g–1·h–1) at CO selectivities as low as 12.8% and a CO2 conversion of 49.8% (reaction conditions: T = 375 °C, P = 30 bar, H2/CO2 = 3, and 5000 mL·g–1·h–1). Comprehensive solid-state nuclear magnetic resonance characterization of the zeolite component reveals that the key for the low CO selectivity is the formation of surface formate species on the zeolite framework. The remarkable difference in selectivity between the two zeolites is further rationalized by first-principles simulations, which show a difference in reactivity for crucial carbenium ion intermediates in MOR and ZSM-5.
Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)6320-6334
Number of pages15
JournalACS Catalysis
Issue number7
StatePublished - May 29 2019

Bibliographical note

KAUST Repository Item: Exported on 2020-10-01
Acknowledgements: Funding for this work was provided by King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST). V.V.S. and P.C. acknowledge funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation program (consolidator ERC grant agreement no. 647755-DYNPOR (2015–2020)). K.D.W. is a fellow funded by the FWO (FWO16-PDO-047). Dr. Vanduyfhuys is acknowledged for his contribution to constructing the mobility plots. The computational resources and services used were provided by Ghent University (Stevin Supercomputer Infrastructure), the VSC (Flemish Supercomputer Center), funded by the Research Foundation - Flanders (FWO).


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