ChBE Seminar Series: Engineered Porous Materials for Catalysis and Gas Separations
Speaker: Ke Zhang, Aramco Research Center, Aramco Services Company, Boston
Title: Engineered Porous Materials for Catalysis and Gas Separations
The oil and gas industry relies on the application of advanced porous materials to achieve preferable feedstock conversion and target product distribution, as well as to remove impurities in processes related to catalysis and separations. Over the past decades, zeolites have become staple crystalline porous materials and are now used extensively in industrial catalysis and separations due to their unique pore structures, acidity, and stability. Industrial emphases on economics, scalability, and sustainability help guide zeolite synthesis and development. To this end, this talk will discuss the design and construction of zeolites with hierarchical structures using an organotemplate free approach and the application of these hierarchical zeolites to a refining-related process with unprecedented catalytic performance.
More recently, metal-organic frameworks (MOFs) have emerged as an attractive new platform of crystalline porous materials that have metal ions or clusters bridged by organic ligands. Although not yet used industrially at broad scale, the structural versatility and tunable pore systems render MOFs as preferred filler materials in polymers for the production of MOF-polymer mixed matrix membranes (MMMs). In this talk, the engineering of crystal morphology will be discussed as a novel solution to addressing membrane plasticization at high feed gas pressures, which is a major obstacle in commissioning MMMs for industrial gas separations.
Ke Zhang received his B.E. degree from Dalian University of Technology (China) in 2003 and his Ph.D. degree in 2008 from Tianjin University (China), both in chemical engineering. He was a visiting scientist at Colorado School of Mines, USA (2009-10) and a postdoctoral researcher at Georgia Institute of Technology (2011-14). He joined Aramco’s Boston Research Center in early 2015 and his current research focuses on heterogeneous catalysis and gas-separation membranes. He has published over 30 refereed papers in the areas of catalysis, membranes, and adsorbents.