CCST Seminar: Joshua Pacheco


Joshua Pacheco works as a Research Engineer at Zeolyst International and is involved with new product development for mobile emissions abatement applications.  He completed a B.S. in Chemical Engineering from the University of Colorado at Boulder in 2009 before joining Chevron at the El Segundo refinery in southern California where he spent two years as a process engineer.  In 2015, he received his Ph.D. from the California Institute of Technology in the Mark E. Davis group.  The doctoral work included the discovery of novel biomass conversion pathways to renewable terephthalic acid starting from 5-hydroxymethylfurfural that involved Lewis acid molecular sieve catalysts.  He has enjoyed being an active member of the Catalysis Club of Philadelphia since joining Zeolyst in 2015, and is part of the planning team of the annual NorthEast Corridor Zeolite Association (NECZA) meetings.



"Lewis acid Molecular Sieves as Diels-Alder Catalysts for the Production of Biomass-derived Terephthalic Acid"


The important polyester, polyethylene terephthalate (PET), is composed of the monomers terephthalic acid (PTA) and ethylene glycol (EG).  PTA (makes up ~70 wt. % of PET) is currently produced by oxidation of petroleum-derived p-xylene (PX) and there are currently worldwide efforts exploring methods for producing renewable PTA from biomass.  Recently, it was shown that Lewis acid silica-based molecular sieves with the zeolite Beta topology (e.g. Sn-Beta, Zr-Beta) can be useful catalysts in a new route to renewable PTA involving Diels-Alder reactions between oxygenated furans and ethylene.  This route selectively converts oxidized variants of the biomass-derived furan, 5-hydroxymethylfurfural (HMF), to PTA precursors by reaction with high-pressure ethylene via a Diels-Alder/dehydrative aromatization step in the presence of Lewis acid molecular sieves.  The development of the new catalytic process will be discussed, along with the elucidation of the overall reaction pathway and an investigation of the reaction kinetics using Madon-Boudart experiments and 13C kinetic isotope effect measurements by gas chromatography/isotope-ratio mass spectrometry.

Thursday, May 4, 2017 at 10:00am to 11:00am

Colburn Lab, 366 CLB
University of Delaware- Colburn Lab, University of Delaware, 150 Academy St, Newark, DE 19716-3196, USA

Event Type

Students, Lectures & Programs, Academics, College of Engineering, Community, Lectures and Programs



Chemical & Biomolecular Engineering, Chemistry & Biochemistry, Center Catalytic Science & Technology



ENGR - Chemical & Biomolecular Engineering

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Mary Walsh

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