Methanol-to-olefin (MTO) reaction over copper-exchanged SAPO-34 catalysts was investigated in order to extend their catalyst life. The exchange of copper ions into the cages of an SAPO-34 molecular sieve was confirmed by ESR, XPS, and 129Xe NMR techniques. Copper ions located
in its cages considerably reduced its deactivation rate in the MTO reaction, while those dispersed on the external surface of the SAPO-34 molecular sieve accelerated the deactivation due to the limited mass transfer through the pore entrances. The 13C NMR and UV-VIS spectroscopy
investigations of the materials occluded on the copper-exchanged SAPO-34 catalysts during the MTO reaction clearly showed that the copper ions exchanged in the cages suppressed the further condensation of alkyl aromatics to large, fused polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs). Theoretical
calculations for the SAPO-34 and copper-exchanged SAPO-34 molecular sieves supported this observation because copper ions located in the cages stabilized the alkyl aromatics. Therefore, the exchange of copper ions into the SAPO-34 molecular sieve stabilized the reactive intermediates, alkyl
aromatics, of the MTO reaction and suppressed their further condensation to PAHs, thereby slowing the deactivation.
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