Colloquium: “Tailor-Made MOFs for Energy Efficient Hydrocarbon Separations” – Wednesday Sept. 4, 2019 at 3 PM

Professor Jing Li
Department of Chemistry and Chemical Biology
Rutgers University
Piscataway, NJ USA
George P. Williams, Jr. Lecture Hall, (Olin 101)
Wednesday,Sept. 4, 2019, at 3:00 PM

There will be a reception in the Olin Lounge at approximately 4 PM following the colloquium. All interested persons are cordially invited to attend.


Metal-organic frameworks (MOFs) are a unique class of highly porous crystalline solids composed of periodically ordered and covalently bonded metal building units and organic ligands. In the past two decades MOFs have become one of the most intensively and extensively explored material families due to their enormous potential for a wide range of applications. MOFs are particularly promising as a new type of adsorbents for gas storage, capture and separation. They have demonstrated numerous advantages over conventional/traditional sorbent materials, not only due to their exceptionally high surface area, but also because of their nearly unlimited structural tunability and remarkable surface functionalizability.

Adsorptive separation of industrially relevant hydrocarbons is of paramount importance as it may substantially reduce the energy consumption required for the current distillation-based technology. However, finding an ideal adsorbent has been challenging as it requires precise control of the porosity (e.g. pore size, pore aperture, pore shape) and sorbent-sorbate interaction in order to meet the stringent performance requirement.

Guided by topological design strategy, we have recently succeeded in designing several MOFs with optimum pore structure.1-3 Built on zirconium and calcium metals and tetratopic carboxylate linkers they exhibit excellent stability towards heat, moisture and hush chemical environment. They show highly efficient separation of selected hydrocarbon mixtures, including alkane isomers and propane/propylene, with a performance surpassing benchmark adsorbents.


  1. Wang, H.; Dong, X.L.; Lin, J.Z.; Teat, S.J.; Jensen, S.; Cure, J.; Alexandrov, E.V.; Xia, Q.B.; Wang, Q.N.; Olson, D.H.; Proserpio, D.M.; Chabal, Y.J.; Thonhauser, T.; Sun, J.L.; Han, Y.; Li, J. “Topologically Guided Tuning of Zr-MOF Pore Structures for Highly Selective Separation of C6 Alkane Isomers”, Nat. Commun., 2018, 9:1745.
  2. Wang, H.; Dong, X.L.; Velasco, E.; Olson, D.H.; Han, Y.; Li, J. “One-of-A-Kind: The First Example of Adsorptive Separation of Three Alkane Isomers by A Microporous Metal-Organic Framework via Temperature- and Adsorbate-Dependent Molecular Sieving”, Ene & Env Sci, 2018, 11, 1226-1231.
  3. Wang, H., Dong, X.L.; Colombo, V.; Wang, Q.N.; Liu, Y.Y.; Liu, W.; Wang, X.L.; Huang, X.Y.; Proserpio, D.M.; Sironi, S.; Han, Y.; Li, J. “Tailor-Made Microporous Metal-Organic Frameworks for the Full Separation of Propane from Propylene through Selective Size Exclusion”, Adv. Mater., 2018, 30, 201805088.

Link to Professor Jing Li’s web page

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