Synthesis-Structure-Activity Relationship in Cu-MOR for Partial Methane Oxidation: Al Siting via Inorganic Structure-Directing Agents
Peer reviewed, Journal article
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Original versionACS Catalysis. 2022, 12 (4), 2166-2177. 10.1021/acscatal.1c05091
In the pursuit of controlling the propensity of Cu-mordenite (MOR) for the selective oxidation of CH4, we take a closer look at intrinsic zeolite parameters. Via synthesis design, we vary the relative proportion of Al situated near the 8-rings and 12-rings of MOR zeolite. This is accomplished using different Al sources impacting the local degree of silica dissolution and zeolite formation as evidenced by crystallization times and morphological differences. Interrogating the crystalline system with steric probe molecules in conjunction with spectroscopic techniques such as 1H magic angle spinning (MAS) NMR, infrared spectroscopy, as well as temperature-programmed desorption confirms discrete changes of the Al within the unit cell. The subsequent copper exchange allows for the generation of Cu-MOR materials of different inclinations for the activation of methane in the stepwise formation of MeOH. Here, an increasing degree of acid sites in more easily accessible locations (e.g., 12-ring) correlates with increasing maximum productivity toward MeOH at moderate exchange degrees. X-ray absorption spectroscopy supports this notion, finding a higher concentration of self-reduction-resistant framework-associated Cu2+ species, previously established as the active sites in the selective oxidation of CH4.