Deactivation of Multilayered MFI Nanosheet Zeolite during Upgrading of Biomass Pyrolysis Vapors

Calvin Mukarakate, Mengze Xu, Maarit Iisa, Martin Menart, David Robichaud, Mark Nimlos, Sridhar Budhi, Malcolm Davidson, Brian Trewyn, Ryan Richards

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

41 Scopus Citations


The catalytic fast pyrolysis (CFP) of biomass is a promising technology for producing renewable transportation fuels and chemicals. MFI-type catalysts have shown promise for CFP because they produce gasoline range hydrocarbons from oxygenated pyrolysis compounds; however, rapid catalyst deactivation due to coking is one of the major technical barriers inhibiting the commercialization of this technology. Coke deposited on the surface of the catalysts blocks access to active sites in the micropores leading to rapid catalyst deactivation. Our strategy is to minimize rapid catalyst deactivation by adding mesoporosity through formation of MFI nanosheet materials. The synthesized MFI nanosheet catalysts were fully characterized and evaluated for cellulose pyrolysis vapor upgrading to produce olefins and aromatic hydrocarbons. The data obtained from pyrolysis-GCMS (py-GCMS) showed that fresh MFI nanosheets produced similar aromatic hydrocarbon and olefin yields compared to those of conventional HZSM-5. However, MFI nanosheets demonstrated a longer lifetime than HZSM-5 even though coke contents were also higher than those for HZSM-5 because the mesopores enabled better accessibility to active acid sites. This conclusion was supported by results from postreaction analysis of various spent catalysts collected at different points during the deactivation experiments.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)5477-5484
Number of pages8
JournalACS Sustainable Chemistry and Engineering
Issue number6
StatePublished - 5 Jun 2017

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2017 American Chemical Society.

NREL Publication Number

  • NREL/JA-5100-68461


  • Catalytic fast pyrolysis
  • Coke formation
  • HZSM-5 deactivation
  • Mesoporosity
  • Mesoporous zeolite
  • Zeolite acidity


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