Scalable continuous production of high quality HKUST-1 via conventional and microwave heating

McKinstry, Colin and Cussen, Edmund J. and Fletcher, Ashleigh J. and Patwardhan, Siddharth V. and Sefcik, Jan (2017) Scalable continuous production of high quality HKUST-1 via conventional and microwave heating. Chemical Engineering Journal, 326. pp. 570-577. ISSN 1385-8947 (

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Metal Organic Frameworks (MOFs) are materials with large surface areas and internal volumes, which result in a number of useful properties for applications such as catalysis, separations and gas storage. However, MOFs are challenging to produce at a large scale creating a barrier to becoming truly viable alternatives to current technologies. As a first step towards industrial scale manufacture, we demonstrate here the first scalable, continuous synthesis of high-quality HKUST-1 using ethanol as the solvent, resulting in a greener and potentially much more economical process (as solvent does not decompose and thus can be recycled). We also show that microwave heating can be used to produce HKUST-1 continuously, in timescales several orders of magnitude faster than by conventional heating. We demonstrated a novel approach to microwave assisted synthesis of HKUST-1, based on a recycle loop with microwave irradiation, which is scalable under both batch and continuous conditions and allows an independent control of microwave irradiation regime and the overall reaction time. The use of microwave heating for continuous production of HKUST-1 enabled STY of 400,000 kg m-3 day1, which is higher than any production rates reported to date, even when using the preferred high yield solvent, DMF, and is 17 times more than the highest production rates reported to date for HKUST-1 in ‘ethanol-only’ systems. These significant advances in MOF manufacturing technologies represent a cutting edge contribution to the field.