Eelco Vogt - Catalytic activity in individual cracking catalyst particles imaged throughout different life stages by selective staining

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  Buurmans, I.L.C., Ruiz-Martínez, J., Knowles, W.V., Van Der Beek,   D., Bergwerff, J.A., Vogt, E.T.C., Weckhuysen, B.M., Nature   Chemistry, 3, 862-867,   2011


    Fluid catalytic cracking (FCC) is the major conversion process   used in oil refineries to produce valuable hydrocarbons from   crude oil fractions. Because the demand for oil-based products is   ever increasing, research has been ongoing to improve the   performance of FCC catalyst particles, which are complex mixtures   of zeolite and binder materials. Unfortunately, there is limited   insight into the distribution and activity of individual zeolitic   domains at different life stages. Here we introduce a staining   method to visualize the structure of zeolite particulates and   other FCC components. Brønsted acidity maps have been constructed   at the single particle level from fluorescence microscopy images.   By applying a statistical methodology to a series of catalysts   deactivated via industrial protocols, a correlation is   established between Brønsted acidity and cracking activity. The   generally applicable method has clear potential for catalyst   diagnostics, as it determines intra- and interparticle Brønsted   acidity distributions for industrial FCC materials.

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