Conclusions

As was shown here in some examples, the field of catalysis over zeolites, although mature, is still very much alive. The chemists who work with the synthesis zeolites continue to be very creative, the focus now being placed on the synthesis of materials that can catalyze reactions other than the acidic ones and/or reactions of bulkier molecules, that is, synthesis of zeolites with larger micropores or with a very large external surface, such as nanosize and delaminated39 zeolites. New concepts related to the mode of action of zeolite catalysts continue to emerge, as shown here with the shape selectivity of the external surface. These concepts are particularly useful to scientifically design selective and stable catalysts.

Since zeolite catalysts are successfully introduced in the refining and petrochemical industries, it is not surprising that most of the recent advances concern incremental improvements of existing processes with the development of new generations of catalysts (e.g., dewaxing, ethylbenzene and cumene synthesis). The number of newer applications is much more limited, for example, direct synthesis of phenol from benzene and aromatization of short-chain alkanes, etc. However, both the improvement and development of processes contribute significantly to environmental advances.

In the field of fine chemical synthesis there is an urgent need to substitute the cleaner technologies for the old polluting ones. It is hoped that the large economic and environmental benefits brought by the recently developed catalysis pro-cesses—acetylation of anisole and of veratrole, Beckmann rearrangement, and so forth—will initiate great strides in this field.

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