Sustainable synthesis of zeolites without addition of both organotemplates and solvents

Qinming Wu, Xiong Wang, Guodong Qi, Qiang Guo, Shuxiang Pan, Xiangju Meng, Jun Xu, Feng Deng, Fengtao Fan, Zhaochi Feng, Can Li, Stefan Maurer, Ulrich Müller, Feng Shou Xiao

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

142 Scopus citations


The development of sustainable and environmentally friendly techniques for synthesizing zeolites has attracted much attention, as the use of organic templates and solvents in the hydrothermal synthesis of zeolites is a major obstacle for realizing green and sustainable synthesis ways. Recently, the introduction of the organotemplate-free synthesis method allowed avoiding the use of organic templates, but water as solvent was still required; solvent-free routes on the other hand beared the potential to significantly reduce the amount of polluted wastewater, but organic templates were still present. In this work, we have demonstrated a combined strategy of both organotemplate- and solvent-free conditions to synthesize aluminosilicate zeolites Beta and ZSM-5 (S-Beta and S-ZSM-5), two of the most important zeolites relevant for industry. The samples are thoroughly characterized by XRD patterns, SEM images, N 2 sorption isotherms, UV-Raman spectra, and 29Si and 27Al MAS NMR spectra. The results demonstrate that S-Beta and S-ZSM-5 zeolites exhibit almost the same textural parameters (e.g., BET surface area and pore volume) and catalytic performance in cumene cracking and m-xylene isomerization as those of conventional Beta and ZSM-5 zeolites synthesized under hydrothermal conditions (C-Beta and C-ZSM-5). The organotemplate- and solvent-free syntheses of S-Beta and S-ZSM-5 take place at a low-pressure regime and are free of harmful gases as well as give high product yields together with highly efficient consumption of the starting raw materials. These advantages plus the very simple procedures opened the pathway to a highly sustainable zeolite synthesis protocol compared to conventional methods currently employed for C-Beta and C-ZSM-5. Very interestingly, this simple synthesis is a good model for understanding zeolite crystallization. The detail characterizations indicate that the S-Beta crystals are formed from the assembly of zeolite building units, mainly 4MRs, while the 5MRs in the framework are just formed in the crystallization of S-ZSM-5, rather than existence in the starting solid mixture. During the crystallization processes, small traces of water play an important role for the hydrolysis and condensation of silica and/or aluminosilicate species.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)4019-4025
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of the American Chemical Society
Issue number10
StatePublished - Mar 12 2014

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