Activation of n-hexane using vanadium-exchanged zeolites.
The influence of the form of the ZSM-5 zeolite, vanadium content and the elimination of the exterior surface acidity on the activity and selectivity of n-hexane oxidation was studied using a fixed bed reactor. Blank reactor studies (carborundum packed reactor) showed no conversion below 450°C with the highest conversion (8%) at 500°C. The dominant products were found to be carbon oxides (Sel./% = 90) with minor selectivities to the hexene isomers (7%) and the remainder being cracked products, THF and benzene. H-ZSM-5 with different SiO2/Al2O3 ratios (100 and 320) and Na-ZSM-5 (SiO2/Al2O3 ratio of 100) were tested under non-oxidative and oxidative conditions. Under oxidative conditions as the ratio of the SiO2/Al2O3 increased, the aluminium content decreased and so too did the cracking ability of the zeolite (i.e. yield of cracked products dropped from 36% to 8%). However, the use of the Na- form of ZSM-5 completely eliminated acid cracking. Under oxidative conditions H-ZSM-5 (100) was found to be more active and resulted in higher formation of cyclic and aromatic compounds. With increasing time on-stream and higher temperatures the catalyst was found to deactivate. Evidence of this was seen by a decrease in surface area and pore volumes of the spent catalyst. The Na-ZSM-5 (100) showed lower activity, but deactivation was shown to be lower. These findings led to the investigation of vanadium ion-exchanged Na-ZSM-5 catalyst for n-hexane activation. Catalysts with different vanadium loadings were prepared using the solid state ion-exchange method. Catalysts were characterised using various methods. These techniques showed that vanadium was successful loaded onto the catalyst and that the highest vanadium loading that could be achieved was 2.5%. The lower loadings were not found to alter the catalyst structure while the highest loading of 2.5% was found to show some pore blockage and to possibly alter the structural environment of the zeolite. Time on stream experiments were conducted and temperature (350, 400 and 450°C), contact time (0.5, 0.8, 1.1 and 1.5 s) and fuel-air ratios (0.7, 1.3 and 2) were varied. The optimum conditions (Conv./% = 39) for terminally activated products were found using the Na-V-ZSM-5 (0.9%) at a temperature of 400°C, a contact time of 1.1 s and fuel-air ratio of 1.3. With the lower fuel-air ratio of 0.7 (oxygen rich conditions), hexanal formation was favoured. The Na-V-ZSM-5 catalyst could be regenerated with initial activity and selectivity being regained. Silanisation was found to be possible, however, the extent and degree of silanisation was difficult to control. Pore blockage was possibly responsible for the lower activity and selectivity obtained using the silanised Na-V-ZSM-5.