Spectroscopic Insight into Carbon Speciation and Removal on a Cu/BEA Catalyst During Renewable High-Octane Hydrocarbon Synthesis

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus Citations


Conversion of methanol and dimethyl ether (DME) to high-octane gasoline catalyzed by beta zeolite (BEA) provides an opportunity for the production of high-quality fuels from renewable carbon sources (e.g., gasified biomass). Recent research demonstrated that a Cu-modified BEA zeolite catalyst (Cu/BEA) offered advantages over the unmodified BEA catalyst due to multifunctional Cu species that enabled incorporation of co-fed H2, reactivation of light alkanes, and reduction of products from the aromatic hydrocarbon pool. The shift in hydrocarbon pool chemistry has the potential to influence the identity and relative composition of surface carbon species that are often linked to deactivation. A detailed understanding of these carbon species is important to develop an effective and efficient regeneration procedure that can enable the transition from fundamental catalyst development to commercial application. Here, we applied complementary ex situ and in situ characterization techniques to compare the structures of surface carbon species on post-reaction Cu/BEA and unmodified BEA catalysts. Both catalysts contained acyclic and aromatic hydrocarbons along with graphitic carbon species. However, the post-reaction Cu/BEA catalyst had a lower polycyclic aromatic content, and further, the graphitic species were more hydrogenated and defective. It was also found that the presence of Cu promoted carbon removal at lower temperatures than for unmodified BEA through activation of O2 by Cu oxide during thermal oxidation. The fundamental insight into the composition of surface carbon species enabled the design of an effective and efficient regeneration strategy for the DME homologation reaction over Cu/BEA, resulting in full recovery of the catalyst activity.

Original languageAmerican English
Article number119925
Number of pages9
JournalApplied Catalysis B: Environmental
StatePublished - 2021

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021 Elsevier B.V.

NREL Publication Number

  • NREL/JA-5100-77916


  • Catalyst regeneration
  • Coke formation
  • Cu/BEA catalyst
  • Dimethyl ether
  • High octane gasoline
  • In situ spectroscopy


Dive into the research topics of 'Spectroscopic Insight into Carbon Speciation and Removal on a Cu/BEA Catalyst During Renewable High-Octane Hydrocarbon Synthesis'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this