Methanol-to-hydrocarbons (MTH) conversion over microporous solid acid catalysts represents an enabling technology for producing essential petrochemicals and liquid fuels from a range of fossil and potentially renewable feedstock alternatives to crude oil. However, a significant challenge in the MTH transformation is the deactivation of catalysts caused by the deposition of high-molecular-weight species, commonly referred to as coke. Designing superior MTH catalysts with a reduced propensity to coking is critically dependent on the fundamental understanding of the mechanism of coke formation and its accumulation within the active micropore domain. In my talk, I will share our recent findings on the important role played by formaldehyde, the primary methanol derivative in the MTH transformation, in the formation of coke. These insights were obtained through the evaluation of gas-phase and catalyst-confined intermediates using Photoelectron Photoion Coincidence and DR/UV-Vis spectroscopies, respectively, and corroborated by analyzing the deactivation kinetics in fixed-bed microreactors. Additionally, I will discuss our ongoing efforts to elucidate the evolution of coke within the micropores of MTH catalysts using diffraction techniques.
Dr. Vladimir Paunović obtained his B.Sc. (2012) and M.Sc. (2013) in Chemical Engineering from the University of Belgrade, Serbia. He earned his Ph.D. degree in Catalysis Engineering from ETH Zurich (2018) under the supervision of Prof. Javier Pérez-Ramírez, with whom he also conducted his first postdoctoral stay (2018-2019). Following the completion of his second post-doctoral stay in the group of Prof. Jeroen A. van Bokhoven at Paul Scherrer Institute in Villigen, Switzerland (2019-2020), he was appointed as a Scientist in the ETH part of the same group in 2021, where he continues his research.
Scientist, ETH Zurich, Institute of Chemical and Bioengineering