SBIR Phase I: Engineered Zeolite Catalyst for Paraffin Alkylation

Period of Performance: 01/01/2001 - 12/31/2001


Phase 1 SBIR

Recipient Firm

Exelus, Inc.
110 Dorsa Ave
Livingston, NJ 07039
Principal Investigator


This Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Phase I project aims to develop a new class of engineered zeolite catalysts for the petrochemical and refining industry. A looming reformulated gasoline boom is driving the development of solid-acid catalysts routes to alkylates. The intent is to replace sulfuric and hydrofluoric acids with safer and more environmentally benign solid-acid catalysts in the 60-million tons/year alkylates market. Although zeolites have been tried as a potential candidate, they deactivate rapidly on stream. The deactivation is mainly due to the formation of 'coke' deposits that plug up pore mouth openings and block the active sites. The novel zeolite catalyst uses smart structure-directing agents to create highly ordered micro and macro-pores. The larger pores provide efficient access and quick diffusion of reagents to the micro-porous system, while the smaller pores can offer high-surface area and size selectivity; thus specific catalytic and sieving functions. Engineered zeolite catalysts will be synthesized, characterized and tested for activity and stability as part of the Phase I research. It is expected that the unique pore architecture will reduce intra-pore diffusive barriers leading to higher product selectivity and a significantly longer catalyst life compared to conventional zeolitic systems.