Catalysis in a Pocket: The MCM-22 Story

2013 Spring Symposium

2012 Ciapetta Award Lecture

Thomas F. Degnan, Jr.
ExxonMobil Research and Engineering Company
Annandale, NJ 08801

Abstract – MCM-22 (MTW) is among a unique class of multidimensional pore shape selective zeolites wherein the principal locus for catalysis is in 12 member ring (12-MR) surface pockets. The zeolite contains two independent pore systems, both of which are accessed through rings comprised of ten tetrahedral (T) atoms (such as Si, Al, and B). One of these pore systems is defined by two-dimensional, sinusoidal channels and the other is defined by large 12-MR supercages with an inner free diameter of 0.71 nm and a height of 1.82 nm. Virtually all acid catalyzed reactions take place in pockets formed from the surface termination of the 1.82 nm high and 0.71 nm diameter supercages. The zeolite has been evaluated and found promising for a number of acid-catalyzed reactions. Most importantly, it has been found to be unusually selective for aromatic alkylation in the presence of a wide range of olefins under liquid phase conditions. This presentation will describe the discovery, development and commercial deployment of this zeolite that is used widely in several aromatic alkylation processes.

Thomas F. Degnan

Thomas F. Degnan

Biography – Tom received his B.S. in chemical engineering from the University of Notre Dame, a Ph.D. in the same discipline from the University of Delaware, and an M.B.A. in Finance from the University of Minnesota. He spent four years in 3M’s Central Research organization in St. Paul, MN before moving to Mobil Research and Development in 1980.

Tom has spent most of his career in exploratory process development, catalysis, catalyst development, and research management working for Mobil and now ExxonMobil Research and Engineering Company. He is presently Manager, New Leads Generation and Breakthrough Technologies and is located at ExxonMobil’s Clinton, NJ facility.

He is a member of the North American Catalysis Society, the American Institute of Chemical Engineers, the American Chemical Society and the Research and Development Council of New Jersey.