1. Michael Haibach
  2. http://www.igert.org/profiles/4745
  3. Graduate Student
  4. Presenter’s IGERT
  5. Rutgers University
  1. Jason Hackenberg
  2. http://www.igert.org/profiles/3547
  3. Graduate Student
  4. Presenter’s IGERT
  5. Rutgers University

Judges’ Queries and Presenter’s Replies

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Presentation Discussion
  • May 22, 2012 | 12:00 p.m.

    Nice balance of technical information and overall impact statement to a broader audience.

    How feasible is this project for commercialization? Have you got expressions of interest by companies in this business?

  • Icon for: Michael Haibach

    Michael Haibach

    May 22, 2012 | 01:06 p.m.

    We have been working closely with industrial collaborators, especially on the dehydroalkylation process.

    In the example shown in the video, our process for making the PEN precursor is efficient enough for commercialization, but we need to improve the conversion before it is cost effective. One thing that we are learning is that separation on an industrial scale can be very costly, so we need to pay more attention to conversion rather than simply catalyst efficiency, which tends to get more attention in academic research.

    Currently, we have also had a lot of interest in applying the FT-upgrade process to the synthesis of lubricants. It seems that at least in the near future, companies are much more excited about new routes synthetic lubricants (where the per-unit profit is higher than synfuels).

  • May 22, 2012 | 07:34 p.m.

    Interesting idea! Do you know what the thermodynamically achivable yields/conversions of the single reactions are and how to achieve or perhaps increase them?

  • Icon for: Michael Haibach

    Michael Haibach

    May 22, 2012 | 10:02 p.m.

    For our bread-and-butter reaction, the dehydrogenation of an alkane to an alkene and H2, we are going way uphill enthalpically. At temperatures near 170 deg C, the favorable increase in entropy balances out and we are able to get fast inital rates of dehydrogenation. Theoretically, we could reach full conversion at these higher temperatures, but our catalyst suffers product inhibition after producing about 10% conversion. If this reaction is coupled with another reaction that consumes the alkene (like our PEN-precursor synthesis on the poster), we can get up to 30% conversion. Finding a compatible alkene conversion co-process is in my opinion the most attractive approach to higher conversion in processes where H2 is given off.

    We can also conduct the alkane dehydrogenation reaction by using another molecule as a hydrogen acceptor. If the acceptor is another alkene, then the process is almost thermoneutral and we can reach full conversion at temperatures as low as 150 deg C. This applies to the alkane metathesis reaction, where the overall process is H2-neutral.

    For most of the reactions catalyzed by zeolites on our poster, the thermodynamics are favorable. However, in most cases our desired product is not the thermodynamically most stable, and an unselective zeolite catalyst can lead to unwanted processes such as cracking, overalkylation, and chain isomerization. Here, it is all about balancing selectivity with reactivity.

  • May 24, 2012 | 07:59 a.m.

    Thanks for the great response! It helped me to get a better understanding of your concept. Have you looked into the possibility to control product inhibition of the catalyst by adapting the catalyst composition? Perhaps you may find this interesting: http://www.nacatsoc.org/21nam/data/papers/Paper... best, ronny

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    amanda Luther

    May 25, 2012 | 12:00 p.m.

    Great job on the poster and video Michael!

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