Mesoporous zeolite single crystal catalysts: Diffusion and catalysis in hierarchical zeolites

Christina Hviid Christensen, Kim Johannsen, Eric Toernqvist, Iver Schmidt, Henrik Topsoe, Claus H. Christensen

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review


During the last years, several new routes to produce zeolites with controlled mesoporosity have appeared. Moreover, an improved catalytic performance of the resulting mesoporous zeolites over conventional zeolites has been demonstrated in several reactions. In most cases, the mesoporous zeolites exhibit higher catalytic activity, but in some cases also improved selectivity and longer catalyst lifetime has been reported. The beneficial effects of introducing mesopores into the zeolites has in most instances been attributed to improved mass transport to and from the active sites located in the zeolite micropores. Here, we briefly discuss the most important ways of introducing mesopores into zeolites and, for the first time, we show experimentally that the presence of mesopores dramatically increases the rate of diffusion in zeolite catalysts. This is done by studying the elution of iso-butane from packed beds of conventional and mesoporous zeolite catalysts. Moreover, we discuss in detail the recent observation of improved activity and selectivity in the alkylation of benzene with ethene using mesoporous zeolite single crystal catalysts. For this reaction, we show by calculation of the Thiele modulus that this improved performance can be mainly attributed to a diffusional limitation of ethylbenzene in the zeolite pores. This is verified in new ethylbenzene dealkylation experiments where mesoporous zeolite catalysts show significantly improved activity over conventional zeolite catalysts.
Original languageEnglish
JournalCatalysis Today
Issue number3-4
Pages (from-to)117-122
Publication statusPublished - 2007


  • diffusion
  • mesoporous zeolites
  • carbon-templated zeolites
  • benzene alkylation

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