Ultra-Highly Active Ni-Doped MOF-5 Heterogeneous Catalysts for Ethylene Dimerization

Cailing Chen*, Lingkun Meng, Mohammed R. Alalouni, Xinglong Dong*, Zhi Peng Wu, Shouwei Zuo, Huabin Zhang

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


Here, an ultra-highly active Ni-MOF-5 catalyst with high Ni loading for ethylene dimerization is reported. The Ni-MOF-5 catalysts are synthesized by a facile one-pot co-precipitation method at room temperature, where Ni2+ replaces Zn2+ in MOF-5. Unlike Zn2+ with tetrahedral coordination in MOF-5, Ni2+ is coordinated with extra solvent molecules except for four-oxygen from the framework. After removing coordinated solvent molecules, Ni-MOF-5 achieves an ethylene turnover frequency of 352 000 h−1, corresponding to 9040 g of product per gram of catalyst per hour, at 35 °C and 50 bar, far exceeding the activities of all reported heterogeneous catalysts. The high Ni loading and full exposure structure account for the excellent catalytic performance. Isotope labeling experiments reveal that the catalytic process follows the Cossee–Arlman mechanism, rationalizing the high activity and selectivity of the catalyst. These results demonstrate that Ni-MOF-5 catalysts are very promising for industrial catalytic ethylene dimerization.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number2301235
Issue number25
StatePublished - Jun 21 2023

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
C.C. and L.M. contributed equally to this work. The authors thank Prof. Yu Han for his strong support and meaningful discussion. The financial support for this work was provided by Baseline Funds (BAS/1/1372‐01‐01) and Research Translation Funds (REI/1/4220‐01‐01) from King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST). The authors also thank Dr. Xueyin Bai for his helpful suggestions.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2023 Wiley-VCH GmbH.


  • ethylene dimerization
  • heterogeneous catalysts
  • metal-organic frameworks
  • Ni-doping

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biotechnology
  • General Chemistry
  • Biomaterials
  • General Materials Science
  • Engineering (miscellaneous)


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