Project title: Understanding the microscopic mechanism for the industry relevant ethene/ethane and propene/propane separations by silver-containing molecular sieves

The separation of ethene and propene from other hydrocarbons, that is required for the production of many chemicals and polymers, is actually carried out by the cryogenic distillation. The high energy demand of this technology makes desirable the development of new processes, being the zeolites based separation the most promising. This alternative route takes advantage of the molecular sieving properties of zeolites and the possibility of tuning their polarity.

One approach to adjust the polar character of silicoaluminate zeolites is by the presence of cations in the voids channels and cavities. Here, we propose to study the interaction of alkenes (ethene and propene) adsorbed on Ag-zeolites with different Si/Al ratio and silver loading. We will follow a multidisciplinary approach combining Inelastic Neutron Spectroscopy with theoretical calculations, solid state nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) and X-ray absorption (XAS) studies for understanding the mechanism of alkene-zeolite interaction in cation containing zeolites.

The information will be of high interest for developing new processes decreasing the energy consumption in the actual separation processes, which is of great industrial interest what has motivated the collaboration of CEPSA in the project. You will join the Spectroscopy group at the ILL and the INS experiments will be mainly performed on the Neutron Vibrational Spectrometer Lagrange.

Further information may be obtained from Mónica Jiménez-Ruiz (tel.: +33 (0)4 76 20 71 44, email: and from Teresa Blasco (+34 963 87 78 12, email:

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