The MTEC ceramic research team has expertise in the production of zeolite materials which can be utilized in several applications such as separation, purification and catalytic processes.
This porous material can be synthesized from various raw materials including industrial wastes and mineral resources.
The utilization of industrial wastes or clay minerals as a starting material to synthesize zeolite materials has been greatly focused because this process can reduce the waste disposal costs, minimize an environmental impact, and also increase the values of domestic clays.
The overall aim is to develop highly porous ceramic materials which have well-ordered structures, high hydrothermal and thermal stability, and can be utilized in various applications. Those porous materials can offer a decrease in demand for foreign import.
Target groups includes:
• Small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs): Technology transfer is accomplished through licensing intellectual property to companies that have necessary resources and desire to develop porous materials to satisfy domestic demands.
• Petrochemical industry: Porous materials produced by the SMEs can be utilized in great volume in the petrochemical industry.
How does the research team do?
The research focusses on the synthesis of porous zeolites derived from natural clays and fly ash, which have high porosity and well-ordered structures with high hydrothermal and thermal stability.
These zeolites can be utilized in several applications such as membrane materials for gas separation or catalysts in fast pyrolysis process of biomass wastes.
The quality of upgraded bio-oil by zeolite is improved and becomes comparable to that of petroleum oil.
This research output responds to national demand trends concerning environmental issues.
In general, fly ash generated from coal combustion process from power plants (over 3 million tons per year) is disposed to landfill causing environmental problems to nearby communities.
The utilization of natural resources, clay, and fly ash as starting materials to synthesize zeolite not only reduce the production costs and waste management costs but also maximize the value-added from minerals and wastes.
Key success factors
The utilization of wastes or by-products as raw materials for product development relies on the consistency in quantity and quality of by-products, which requires the cooperation from waste producers.
Additionally, understanding the factors that affect the development of product including synthesis technology, controlling and optimizing pore size distribution in zeolite frameworks are the most important issues that contribute to highly efficient catalyst.
Much effort is still necessary to investigation the catalytic performance of synthesized zeolite in actual environment to ensure that the product has comparable quality with that of the commercial ones. The method of performance evaluation has to be internationally recognized.
The basic research output is ready for technology transfer.
At the moment, the technology based on the synthesis of zeolite from mineral sources has been transferred to Muang Khunphang Company Limited. The company has rented R&D facilities at the Innovation Cluster II building to foster business and commercialize the technology transfer.
The knowledge and technology transfer in the synthesis of zeolite from both wastes and natural resources to private sector for commercialization. Additional research on zeolite synthesis from wastes for other applications beyond petrochemical catalyst is of particular interest.