Prof. Dr. Unni Olsbye

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U. Olsbye

Prof. Dr. Unni Olsbye

University of Oslo

“Studies of diffusion and acid-catalyzed reactions in zeolites”

Unni Olsbye, Dept. of Chemistry, University of Oslo, Sem Sælands vei 26, 0372 Oslo, Norway.

Email: unni.olsbye[at]

Coupled diffusion and acid-catalyzed reactions in zeolites control a multitude of industrially important chemistries. Fundamental studies of such processes will lead to better understanding of structure-performance relationships, and may ultimately form the basis of predictive models aimed at tailoring catalysts for next generation, renewable-based chemical industry.

In our group, methylation of light alkenes and arenes are studied as model reactions to unravel details of the coupled diffusion-reaction scheme.1-6 In this lecture, I will present steady-state and transient studies leading to enhanced insight in the influence of electronic and steric properties of the active site and its surroundings on methylation rates as well as competing reactions. Furthermore, I will present our approach of using the Temporal Analysis of Products pulse-response technique for studies of molecular transport of low weight guest molecules in zeolites.


1. Mortén, M.; Cordero-Lanzac, T.; Cnudde, P.; Redekop, E.A.; Svelle, S.; van Speybroeck, V.; Olsbye, U.; Acidity effect on benzene methylation kinetics over substituted H-MeAlPO-5 catalysts. Journal of Catalysis, 2021, 404, 594-606.

2. Cnudde, P; Redekop, EA; Dai, W.; Porcaro, N.G.; Waroquier, M.; Bordiga, S.; Hunger, M.; Li, L.; Olsbye, U.; Van Speybroeck, V.; Experimental and Theoretical Evidence for the Promotional Effect of Acid Sites on the Diffusion of Alkenes through Small-Pore Zeolites. Angewandte Chemie – International Edition, 2021, 60(18), 10016-10022.

3. Redekop. E.; Lazzarini, A.; Bordiga, S.; Olsbye, U.; A temporal analysis of products (TAP) study of C2-C4 alkene reactions with a well-defined pool of methylating species on ZSM-22 zeolite. Journal of Catalysis 2020, 385, 300-312.

4. Martínez-Espín, J. S.; De Wispelaere, K.; Janssens, T. V. W.; Svelle, S.; Lillerud, K. P.; Beato, P.; Van Speybroeck, V.; Olsbye, U., Hydrogen Transfer versus Methylation: On the Genesis of Aromatics Formation in the Methanol-To-Hydrocarbons Reaction over H-ZSM-5. ACS Catalysis 2017, 7, 5773-5780.

5. Martinez-Espin, J. S.; De Wispelaere, K.; Westgård Erichsen, M.; Svelle, S.; Janssens, T. V. W.; Van Speybroeck, V.; Beato, P.; Olsbye, U., Benzene co-reaction with methanol and dimethyl ether over zeolite and zeotype catalysts: Evidence of parallel reaction paths to toluene and diphenylmethane. Journal of Catalysis 2017, 349, 136-148.

6. Brogaard, R. Y.; Henry, R.; Schuurman, Y.; Medford, A. J.; Moses, P. G.; Beato, P.; Svelle, S.; Nørskov, J. K.; Olsbye, U., Methanol-to-hydrocarbons conversion: The alkene methylation pathway. Journal of Catalysis 2014, 314, 159-169.

Unni Olsbye obtained an MSc in Industrial Chemistry at NTNU, Norway, in 1987, and a PhD in Organic Chemistry at the University of Oslo (UiO), Norway, in 1991.

She worked at SINTEF and Nordox Industrier before returning to UiO as associate professor in 2001.

She was promoted to full professor in 2002.

Her research group focuses on catalysis for sustainable valorization of light molecules (C1-C3), mainly using zeolite- and metal organic framework-based catalysts. Experimental studies of kinetic and mechanistic consequences of single material parameter variation are used as a guiding tool for catalyst design.

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