Opportunities and critical factors of porous metal–organic frameworks for industrial light olefins separation
Light olefins (ethylene, propylene, and 1,3-butadiene) are widely used as building blocks in the petrochemical industry and for the fabrication of everyday products. Developing energy cost-efficient porous materials for the separation of light olefins is fundamentally and industrially important. Metal–organic frameworks (MOFs), representing a novel class of porous materials, possess unique pore structures, endowing them with exceptional porosity, tunable pore sizes, and facile functionalization. These features permit distinct host–guest interactions and/or sieving effects, allowing the separation of molecules in an energy-efficient manner. However, some critical factors, such as large-scale production and fabrication into shaped forms need to be addressed for real industrial separations. To solve these issues, many novel approaches for synthesizing and shaping MOFs have recently been developed. In this review, we summarize and highlight recent advances in the realm of gas separation using MOFs as adsorbents, covering the progress made in improving the key features of MOFs that are necessary for their real-world applications, and opening a broader perspective on the current status of this field and its challenges.