Co-Aromatization of Methane with Olefins: The Role of Inner Pore and External Surface Catalytic Sites

Matthew Yung, Peng He, Jack Jarvis, Shijun Meng, Aiguo Wang, Shiyu Kou, Richard Gatip, Lijia Liu, Hua Song

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30 Scopus Citations


The co-aromatization of methane with olefins is investigated using Ag-Ga/HZSM-5 as the catalyst at 400 °C. The presence of methane has a pronounced effect on the product distribution in terms of increased average carbon number and substitution index and decreased aromatic carbon fraction compared with its N2 environment counterpart. The participation of methane during the co-aromatization over the Ag-Ga/HZSM-5 catalyst diminishes as the co-fed olefin feedstock molecule becomes larger, from 1-hexene to 1-octene and 1-decene, in diameter. The effect of suppressed methane participation with larger olefinic molecules is not as significant when Ag-Ga/HY is employed as the catalyst, which might be attributed to the larger pore size of HY that gives more room to hold olefin and methane molecules within the inner pores and reduces the diffusion limitation of olefin molecules. The effect of olefin feedstock on the methane participation during the co-aromatization over Ag-Ga/HZSM-5 is experimentally evidenced by 13C and 2D NMR. The incorporation of the methane carbon atoms into the phenyl ring of product molecules is reduced significantly with larger co-fed olefins, whereas its incorporation into the substitution groups of the formed aromatic molecules is not notably affected, suggesting that the methane participation in the phenyl ring formation might preferably occur within inner pores, while its incorporation into substitution groups may mainly take place on external catalytic sites. This hypothesis is well supported by the product selectivity obtained over Ag-Ga/HZSM-5 catalysts prepared using conventional ZSM-5, ZSM-5 with the external catalytic sites deactivated, nanosize ZSM-5, ZSM-5 with a micro/meso pore structure and ZSM-5 with the inner pores blocked, and further confirmed by the isotopic labeling studies.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)234-246
Number of pages13
JournalApplied Catalysis B: Environmental
StatePublished - 2018

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2018 Elsevier B.V.

NREL Publication Number

  • NREL/JA-5100-71537


  • Isotope labelling
  • Methane co-aromatization
  • Pore size
  • Post-synthetic treatment
  • Selectivity


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