Zeolite Catalysis with a Focus on Downstream Refining Applications

2017 Spring Symposium

C.Y. Chen, Chevron Energy Technology Company, Richmond, CA

Abstract – Zeolites have been important catalysts for the refining and petrochemical industries and other applications. The use of organo-cation template molecules to provide structure direction has given rise to a number of novel zeolites in recent years, leading to breakthroughs in zeolite synthesis and providing an impetus in developing new process chemistry. As a consequence, the understanding of zeolite structures and the structure-property relationships has become not only of basic academic interest but also one of the most critical tasks in bringing the industrial applications of these materials to successful fruition.

In this paper I will first present a brief overview of Chevron’s zeolite R&D. Then the emphasis will be placed on zeolite catalysis for downstream refining applications such as hydrocracking, hydroisomerization and MTO (methanol to olefins). Here the characterization of zeolites via catalytic test reactions and physisorption plays an important role. The hydrocracking and hydroisomerization of paraffins such as n-hexane, n-decane and n-hexadecane as well as MTO will be discussed as examples for the investigation of the catalytic properties of a series of zeolites (e.g., Y, mordenite, ferrierite, ZSM-5, ZSM-12, ZSM-22, ZSM-48, TNU-9, SSZ-25, SSZ-26, SSZ-32, SSZ-33, SSZ-56, SSZ-57, SSZ-75, SSZ-87 and SSZ-98) and some new examples of shape selectivities of zeolite catalysis will be demonstrated. Furthermore, our studies on the vapor phase physisorption of a series of hydrocarbon adsorbates with varying molecule sizes for a wide spectrum of zeolite structures will be reported. Catalytic test reactions and vapor phase hydrocarbon adsorption together also provide useful information for the determination of zeolite structures.

The author thanks Chevron Energy Technology Company for support of zeolite R&D, especially S.I. Zones, R.J. Saxton and G.L. Scheuerman.

Biography – C.Y. Chen is a senior staff scientist and technical team leader in the Catalysis Technology Department of Chevron Energy Technology Company located in Richmond, California. He is a zeolite scientist by training and has been working at Chevron for the past 22 years in zeolite research projects involving synthesis, modification, characterization, catalysis, adsorption and commercialization. He received his Diplom in Chemical Engineering from the University of Karlsruhe, Germany and Ph.D. in Chemistry from the University of Oldenburg, Germany with Prof. Jens Weitkamp. Then he was a postdoc at Virginia Tech and Caltech with Prof. Mark Davis. He is also an adjunct professor in the Department of Chemical Engineering at the University of California at Davis.