Joint Centers of Excellence Program
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Developing Solid Super Acid Catalyst for Alkylation Processes

Alkylation is a very important industrial process. The current liquid acid alkylation catalytic process has the advantage of high selectivity but also serious environmental problems. The aim of this project is to develop solid acid catalyst to replace the liquid acid catalyst. However, unlike the liquid acid catalysts, which have uniform acid strength, the solid acid catalyst has a range of acid site strengths. Additionally, different pore sizes can be tailored by catalyst preparation and modification. The diffusion, shape restriction and acid site properties play key roles in the product yield and selectivity.
In this work we aim to develop solid acid catalysts with desirable shape selectivity for alkylation of aromatics as well as methanol conversion. The development of novel solid acid catalysts for alkylation of aromatics is an important area of research. One of its specific areas of importance stems for the use of alkylated aromatics as fuel enhancers with a mind of improving octane and cetane numbers of gasoline and diesel respectively. However, other potential products may include starting materials and high value chemical intermediates for a variety of chemical processes.