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Fischer–Tropsch synthesis to olefins boosted by MFI zeolite nanosheets

Abstract

Catalytic reactions are severely restricted by the strong adsorption of product molecules on the catalyst surface, where promoting desorption of the product and hindering its re-adsorption benefit the formation of free sites on the catalyst surface for continuous substrate conversion1,2. A solution to this issue is constructing a robust nanochannel for the rapid escape of products. We demonstrate here that MFI zeolite crystals with a short b-axis of 90–110 nm and a finely controllable microporous environment can effectively boost the Fischer–Tropsch synthesis to olefins by shipping the olefin molecules. The ferric carbide catalyst (Na-FeCx) physically mixed with a zeolite promoter exhibited a CO conversion of 82.5% with an olefin selectivity of 72.0% at the low temperature of 260 °C. By contrast, Na-FeCx alone without the zeolite promoter is poorly active under equivalent conditions, and shows the significantly improved olefin productivity achieved through the zeolite promoter. These results show that the well-designed zeolite, as a promising promoter, significantly boosts Fischer–Tropsch synthesis to olefins by accelerating escape of the product from the catalyst surface.

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Fig. 1: Schematic showing the strategy to boost the FTO via shifting the chemical equilibrium on the catalyst surface.
Fig. 2: Catalytic performance of the Na-FeCx/zeolite catalysts in the LT-FTO.
Fig. 3: Catalytic data for the Na-FeCx/zeolite catalysts in LT-FTO and ethene desorption DRIFT spectra over Na-FeCx/zeolite catalysts.
Fig. 4: Computational models, DFT calculations, MD simulations and the MSD of ethene.

Data availability

The data that support the findings of this study are presented in the Letter and Supplementary Information, and are available from the corresponding authors upon reasonable request. Source data are provided with this paper.

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Acknowledgements

We thank F. Chen for kind help in the transmission electron microscopy characterization. This work was supported by the National Key Research and Development Program of China (2021YFA1500404), the National Natural Science Foundation of China (U21B20101, 21932006, 22102143, 22032005 and 22125304) and the National Postdoctoral Program for Innovative Talents (BX20200291).

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Authors

Contributions

C.W. and W.F. performed the catalyst preparation, characterization and catalytic tests. Z. Liu and A.Z. performed the theoretical calculations and wrote the corresponding part. H.L., L.L., H.Z., X.Q., S.X. and Y.W. participated in the catalyst characterization. Z. Liao and Y.Y. provided helpful discussion and compiled the process package. X.C. performed the X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy characterization. L.W. and F.-S.X. designed the study, analysed the data and wrote the paper. All authors discussed the results and commented on the manuscript.

Corresponding authors

Correspondence to Liang Wang, Anmin Zheng or Feng-Shou Xiao.

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This work has been protected by a Chinese patent with the application number 202110715110.6. The authors C.W., W.F., L.W. and F.-S.X. were involved in this patent. The other authors declare no competing interests.

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Nature Nanotechnology thanks Jingxiu Xie and the other, anonymous, reviewer(s) for their contribution to the peer review of this work.

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Materials and experimental details, Supplementary Figs. 1–62, Tables 1–16 and references.

Source data

Source Data Fig. 2a

Source of the catalytic data in Fig. 2.

Source Data Fig. 3

Source of the catalytic data in Fig. 3.

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Wang, C., Fang, W., Liu, Z. et al. Fischer–Tropsch synthesis to olefins boosted by MFI zeolite nanosheets. Nat. Nanotechnol. 17, 714–720 (2022). https://doi.org/10.1038/s41565-022-01154-9

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