Designing Multi-Dopant Species in Microporous Architectures to Probe Reaction Pathways in Solid-Acid Catalysis

Matthew E. Potter, Lindsay Marie Armstrong, Marina Carravetta, Thomas M. Mezza, Robert Raja

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Citations (SciVal)


The introduction of two distinct dopants in a microporous zeotype framework can lead to the formation of isolated, or complementary catalytically active sites. Careful selection of dopants and framework topology can facilitate enhancements in catalysts efficiency in a range of reaction pathways, leading to the use of sustainable precursors (bioethanol) for plastic production. In this work we describe our unique synthetic design procedure for creating a multi-dopant solid-acid catalyst (MgSiAPO-34), designed to improve and contrast with the performance of SiAPO-34 (mono-dopant analog), for the dehydration of ethanol to ethylene. We employ a range of characterization techniques to explore the influence of magnesium substitution, with specific attention to the acidity of the framework. Through a combined catalysis, kinetic analysis and computational fluid dynamics (CFD) study we explore the reaction pathway of the system, with emphasis on the improvements facilitated by the multi-dopant MgSiAPO-34 species. The experimental data supports the validation of the CFD results across a range of operating conditions; both of which supports our hypothesis that the presence of the multi-dopant solid acid centers enhances the catalytic performance. Furthermore, the development of a robust computational model, capable of exploring chemical catalytic flows within a reactor system, affords further avenues for enhancing reactor engineering and process optimisation, toward improved ethylene yields, under mild conditions.

Original languageEnglish
Article number171
JournalFrontiers in Chemistry
Publication statusPublished - 17 Mar 2020


  • catalysis
  • CFD
  • ethanol
  • solid-acid
  • zeotypes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Chemistry


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