Heterogeneous catalysis is a key science in the modern petroleum industry and will be a pillar in the future renewable energy and chemical economy. Catalysts with an encapsulation architecture have recently emerged as a category of effective materials to facilitate a wide range of important chemical transformations. In this talk, two case studies will be discussed in obtaining mechanistic understanding on the molecular level: 1) tandem catalytic conversion of biomass-derived feedstock on metal nanoparticles encapsulated in zeolites; and 2) non-oxidative dehydrogenation of propane on Ga/HZSM-5. In tandem catalysis, we develop a number of general strategies to exploit the distribution and nature of catalytic sites on the encapsulated metal nanoparticles and the host zeolite matrix to manipulate selectivity. In the case of propane dehydrogenation, strategies to identify active sites at reaction conditions and determine intrinsic catalytic activities on catalytic materials with complex structures are discussed.
Bingjun Xu is the Ge Li and Ning Zhao Chair Professor at the College of Chemistry and Molecular Engineering of Peking University. Dr. Xu received his Ph.D. in Physical Chemistry, advised by Profs. Friend and Madix, from Harvard University in 2011, and then worked with Prof. Davis at Caltech as a postdoctoral researcher. He started his independent research career in the Department of Chemical & Biomolecular Engineering at University of Delaware in 2013 as an Assistant Professor, and was promoted to a Centennial Development Associate Professor in 2019. Dr. Xu joined the College of Chemistry and Molecular Engineering of Peking University in 2020. The current research interest of the Xu lab spans heterogeneous catalysis, electrocatalysis and in-situ/operando spectroscopy. Dr. Xu is an awardee of US NSF Early Career Award (2017), US Air Force Office of Scientific Research Young Investigator Award (2016), ACS Petroleum Research Fund Doctoral New Investigator Award (2015), the I&EC Class 2018 Influential Researchers (2018), and Changjiang Professorship from Ministry of Education of China (2020).