Currently, ethylene/ethane separation is an important and energy-intensive industrial process. Professor Zhang Zhangjing’s team have reported a microporous hydrogen-bonded organic framework (HOF), consisting of tetracyano-bicarbazole building blocks held together through intermolecular C–N···H–C hydrogen bonding interactions. The HOF can stay stable under harsh conditions, including exposure to water, strong acids and bases, and some other highly polar solvents. It is flexible and takes up ethylene with very good selectivity over ethane through a gating mechanism with unique temperature adjustment. At 60 °C, close to the temperature of a gas mixture in a real industrial process, the HOF-FJU-1 manages to produce high purity of ethylene from fixed bed columns.
Recently, the research result, entitled “Ethylene/ethane separation in a stable hydrogen-bonded organic framework through a gating mechanism”, was published in the international top journal Nature Chemistry (IF=24.427), selected as the cover of that issue, and highly evaluated by Nature Chemistry, with the title of “Separation no hassle for HOF”. The first author of the paper is Dr. Yang Yisi, a doctoral student of Class 2019 of FNU, with Professor Zhang Zhangjing, Professor Xiang Shengchang and Professor Chen Banglin of University of Texas at SAN Antonio as the corresponding authors. The work is sponsored by the National Natural Science Foundation of China, and such projects as the Major Science and Technology Projects of Fujian Province.
(Translated by Liu Tongsheng/ Reviewed by Xie Xiujuan)