Formulation of Zeolite-based Catalysts for Hydrocarbon Processing

  • Tuiana Shoinkhorova

Student thesis: Doctoral Thesis


With demand for gasoline and diesel expected to decline in the near future, crude-tochemicals technologies have the potential to become the most important processes in the petrochemical industry. This trend has triggered intense research to maximize the production of light olefins and aromatics at the expense of fuels, which calls for disruptive processes able to transform crude to chemicals in an efficient and environmentally friendly way. Simultaneously, the production of high-demand chemical commodities such as olefins, aromatics and gasoline from alternative feedstocks such as methanol has been central to research in both academia and industry. In both conversions, catalyst composition and formulation play a key role. In principle, shaping and optimal compositional formulation are major challenges in the successful industrial application of heterogeneous catalysts. Herein, we evaluate the application of the spray-drying shaping technique to manufacture spherical zeolite-based catalysts and their applicability in the direct crude-to-chemicals and the methanol-to-hydrocarbons processes. A thorough study of the effect of formulated fluid catalytic cracking catalyst composition on the one-step cracking of Arabian light crude oil was studied in the present thesis. Our results demonstrate that over a 35wt.% yield to light olefins can be achieved on spray-dried catalysts containing 1:1 mixtures of ZSM-5 and FAU zeolites. On the other hand, the nature of the selected clay, one of the key components in formulated catalysts, has a significant influence in modifying the final acidity of the composite, which, when applied in methanol to hydrocarbons, results in the propagation of either the alkene or arene cycles. The present PhD thesis also has been dedicated to the study of optimal conditions for the highly selective and stable production of aromatics during methanol to aromatics at high pressure. High selectivity to aromatics (~50%) can be achieved on a commercial high silica ZSM-5 at 400° and 30 bar total pressure. The high partial pressure of primary olefins and the promoted methanol-induced hydrogen transfer pathway result in an exponential increase in aromatization, while the high partial pressure of steam generated via dehydration of methanol leads to in situ coke removal and, therefore, to a slower deactivation of the zeolite.
Date of AwardFeb 2022
Original languageEnglish (US)
Awarding Institution
  • Physical Sciences and Engineering
SupervisorJorge Gascon (Supervisor)


  • Zeolite
  • Shaping
  • Crude Oil
  • Methanol
  • Formulation
  • catalysis

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