What is the ZEOLIghT Project : dual challenges in the discovery and sustainability of nanozeolites: controlling defect sites and structural flexibility ?
The ZEOLIghT project aims at controlling defects and flexibility of nanozeolites by understanding the fundamental mechanisms involved in their growth kinetics. Indeed, defects are the key to transform inert materials into active ones. Advances in the understanding of defects and flexibility of nanozeolites will pave the way for the discovery of a wide variety of new nanozeolites with original properties not yet known. The new zeolites thus synthesized will contribute to the fight against climate change by providing solutions to the energy transition and the reduction of CO2 emissions.
Efforts will focus on the direct synthesis of zeolites and nanoporous materials starting from the controlled formation of building units in colloidal suspensions rather than the post-synthesis treatment of micron-sized zeolites. The fast diffusion, improved kinetics, cycling and regeneration of the novel zeolites and nanoporous materials will contribute to the ongoing energy transition and greening of processes directly linked with greater energy efficiency.
Zeolites have well-defined pores and structural characteristics, tuneable chemical compositions, and possess exceptional properties with respect to molecular-sieving, which is highly relevant for adsorption and separation processes, and shape selectivity in catalysis. They are key players in strategic areas such as petroleum refining, petrochemicals and fine chemicals processing, separation of toxic and radioactive wastes, air pollution abatement, and industrial effluent and water purification. According to Grand View Research Inc., 2018, the global zeolite market is expected to reach $33.8bn by 2022 (2.5 % growth compared to 2018), based on the significant increase of refinery output, necessity for non-toxic adsorbents for water treatment, and gas separation. The EU is engaged in tackling the climate change challenge to reach the goal of limiting the global temperature increase to 2 °C by 2050, directly connected to energy related CO2 emissions.
The realization of this project will have an impact in materials science, on the economy, the development of gas and renewable energies, the environment, biochemistry, and the social sphere. The project will help the EU to better face the challenges associated with climate change and will provide innovative materials solutions to reduce CO2 emissions.
Alumino-silicate hydrate. Zeolite (Greek for « boiling stone ») is a crystalline structure in which four oxygen atoms enclose one silicon or aluminum atom.Formed naturally in alkaline waters or in sediments, zeolites have the property of swelling under the effect of heat. Chemically, they hydrate and dehydrate in a reversible way.We know 48 natural zeolites but chemists have created nearly 200 synthetic forms. They are used for filtration (they have been called molecular sieves), in water softeners, in ion exchange columns, in oxygen production systems or in the separation of petroleum products or in the extraction of natural gas. They are also used as catalysts in many types of chemical reactions. As a potassium carrier, some are used as fertilizers in agriculture. (definition Futura-sciences.com)