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Applications of Zeolites in Sustainable Chemistry

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The Bigger Picture Zeolites, also called molecular sieves, are traditionally referred to as a family of aluminosilicate materials consisting of orderly distributed micropores in molecular dimensions. They have been widely used as highly efficient catalysts, adsorbents, and ion exchangers in petrochemical industries and in our daily life. Beyond these traditional applications, zeolites are playing an increasingly important role in many sustainable processes. In particular, zeolites have found promising applications in the fields of renewable energy and environmental improvement, such as biomass conversion, fuel cells, thermal energy storage, CO2 capture and conversion, air- pollution remediation, and water purification, etc. These applications make zeolites potential candidates as solutions to the sustainability issues in our society. Review Applications of Zeolites in Sustainable Chemistry Yi Li,1,2 Lin Li,1 and Jihong Yu1,2,* To face the global sustainability issues arising from rapid industry development and population increase, many efforts have been made to develop new mate- rials and technologies toward renewable energy and environmental improve- ment. Zeolites are a family of crystalline materials with orderly distributed micropores in molecular dimensions. As the most important solid catalysts used in traditional petrochemical industries, zeolites are also finding promising applications in many sustainable processes given their unique shape selectivity, adsorption and ion-exchange capability, high hydrothermal stability, tunable acidity and polarity, and low production costs. In this review, we present the state-of-the-art applications of zeolites as potential solutions to the sustainabil- ity issues, including biomass conversion, fuel cells, thermal energy storage, CO2 capture and conversion, air-pollution remediation, and water purification, etc. INTRODUCTION Sustainability involves broad content across ecology, economics, politics, and cul- ture. In brief, sustainability represents a state of society where living conditions and resources continue to meet human needs without undermining the integrity and stability of the natural systems.1 Global industrial and economic development over the past century has largely relied on combustion of non-renewable fossil fuels, such as petroleum, coal, and natural gas, which are also harmful to our environment because of the release of a large amount of CO2. Meanwhile, industrial processes and human activities have produced various hazardous gases, such as NO, NO2, NH3, and volatile organic compounds, and liquid wastes containing heavy metals and radionuclides, which have posed serious threats to the environment and human health. Therefore, establishing eco-friendly and cost-effective processes to achieve renewable energy sources and environmental improvement is currently one of the most urgent issues for the sustainable development of our society. Zeolites are traditionally referred to as a family of open-framework aluminosilicate materials consisting of orderly distributed micropores in molecular dimensions. The frameworks of zeolites are built from the connections of corner-sharing TO4 tetrahedra (‘‘T’’ denotes tetrahedrally coordinated Si, Al, or P, etc.), and different ways of tetrahedra connection lead to a diversity of zeolite framework types based on various compositions.2 To date, 235 distinct zeolite framework types have been identified in natural or synthetic zeolites, each of which has been assigned a three-letter code by the International Zeolite Association (Figure 1).3 The frame- works of zeolites can be decomposed into rings of different sizes, which correspond to the pore opening windows of zeolites. According to their largest pore windows, zeolites can be categorized into small-pore (%8-ring), medium-pore (10-ring), large-pore (12-ring), and extra-large-pore zeolites (>12-ring). The negative charges of zeolite frameworks are usually compensated by extra-framework mono- or di-valent cations, which can be exchanged by other cations. The additional 928 Chem 3, 928–949, December 14, 2017 a 2017 Elsevier Inc.

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