Novel Zirconium-Based Metal-Organic Frameworks for Efficient Separation of C6 Alkane Isomers

Figure 1  nHEX adsorption rate for compound 1 and zeolite 5A.

Figure 2  Adsorption of n-hexane (black), 3-methylpentane (red) and 2,3-dimethylbutane (blue) on compound 2 at 30 C

Invention Summary:

Separating mixtures of hydrocarbons with comparable boiling points is often challenging and energy intensive. Adsorptive separation of hydrocarbons is commonly used as a low-energy alternative to industrial distillations. Recently, however, metal-organic frameworks (MOFs) are emerging as promising alternatives to traditional adsorptive solids.

Researchers at Rutgers University have developed a series of novel zirconium-based MOFs for efficient separation of C6 alkane isomers. The Zr-MOFs have an adsorption capacity exceeding the current industry benchmark zeolite 5A; further, some configurations permit discrimination between mono and multi-branched hydrocarbon isomers.

Market Applications:

  • Petroleum refining for production of high-RON gasoline
  • Industrial reactions requiring separation of linear and branched hydrocarbons
  • Separation of mono- and di-branched hydrocarbon isomers       


  • Separation efficiencies and adsorptive capacities exceeding the industry standard
  • High degree of mono and dibranched alkane separation selectivity

Intellectual Property & Development Status:

Patent pending. Available for licensing and/or research collaboration.

Rutgers ID: 2018-081
Physical Sciences
Zolt Pukanecz
Jing Li
Hao Wang