Development of Nanocrystalline Zeolite Materials as Environmental Catalysts: From Environmentally Benign Synthesis to Emission Abatement

EPA Grant Number: R829600
Title: Development of Nanocrystalline Zeolite Materials as Environmental Catalysts: From Environmentally Benign Synthesis to Emission Abatement
Investigators: Larsen, Sarah C. , Grassian, Vicki H.
Institution: University of Iowa
EPA Project Officer: Lasat, Mitch
Project Period: January 1, 2002 through December 31, 2004
Project Amount: $350,000
RFA: Exploratory Research: Nanotechnology (2001) RFA Text |  Recipients Lists
Research Category: Nanotechnology , Safer Chemicals


This proposal describes the development of nanometer-sized zeolites and zeolite nanostructures as environmental catalysts. Zeolites, which are widely used in applications in separations and catalysis, are aluminosilicate molecular sieves with pores of molecular dimensions. The crystal size of zeolites formed during conventional synthesis range in size from 1000 to 10,000 nm. However, for some applications it would be advantageous to employ much smaller nanometer-sized zeolite crystals in the range, 10-100 nm. Specific advantages to be gained by using zeolite nanostructures include facile adsorption and desorption, the ability to form dense films to facilitate separations applications and optical transparency. The first hypothesis of the proposed project is that the properties of zeolites with respect to reactant and product diffusion and light scattering can be significantly improved by using nanometer-sized zeolites and nanostructures (fibers or thin films). The second hypothesis of the proposed project is that these zeolite nanostructures will be superior materials for applications in heterogeneous environmental catalysis.


In order to test the hypotheses, a two-pronged approach based on the synthesis and application of nanozeolites as environmental catalysts, is envisioned. The objectives of the proposed project are:

  1. To synthesize and characterize nanometer-sized zeolites (X, Y, ZSM-5, Beta) and nanostructures (films, fibers).

  2. To determine the effectiveness of nanometer-sized zeolites for applications in environmental catalysis, such as environmentally benign selective oxidation reactions in cation-exchanged zeolites, NOx emission abatement, and photocatalytic decomposition of organic contaminants.

  3. To investigate intrazeolite reactions using in-situ spectroscopic methods, such as FTIR and solid state NMR spectroscopy.

Expected Results:

The development of nanozeolites for applications in heterogeneous catalysis can potentially lead to solutions of several important environmental problems. These problems span from new methodologies in environmentally benign synthesis to new methodologies in environmental remediation. It should be noted that the results of these studies, e.g., how the relationship between the properties of the nanozeolites and catalytic activity, are not limited to the reactions studied here. The results should extend to other types of catalytic reactions and should be important in other applications of environmental catalysis and environmentally benign synthesis.

Publications and Presentations:

Publications have been submitted on this project: View all 47 publications for this project

Journal Articles:

Journal Articles have been submitted on this project: View all 11 journal articles for this project

Supplemental Keywords:

pollution prevention, green chemistry, nanotechnology, waste minimization, remediation, VOC, nitrogen oxides, solvents., Scientific Discipline, Toxics, Waste, Sustainable Industry/Business, Chemical Engineering, cleaner production/pollution prevention, Remediation, Environmental Chemistry, HAPS, VOCs, Chemistry and Materials Science, Environmental Engineering, Nox, Nitrogen Oxides, environmentally benign synthesis, waste minimization, zeolites, clean technology, nanotechnology, nitrogen oxide, environmental catalysts, nanomaterials, pollution prevention, nanocrystalline zeolite materials, emission abatement, green chemistry

Progress and Final Reports:

  • 2002 Progress Report
  • 2003
  • Final Report