Experimental study of Cu-ZnO-ZrO2/hydrotalcite catalyst for sorption-enhancing hydrogenation of CO2 to methanol

Xin Fang, Bennett Shyh Jiunn Wong, Yuhan Men, Fan Wu, Qinghu Zhao, Ranjeet Singh, Penny Xiao, Paul A. Webley, Tao Du

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference PaperOther


CO2 utilization is increasingly seen as a potential mitigating component of CO2 emission control, in addition to carbon capture and storage (CCS). However, methanol synthesis via CO2 hydrogenation remains a challenge industrially due to the restricted CO2 conversion and methanol selectivity. Among traditional modifications, the sorption-enhancing strategy attracts our special interests as a consequence of its remarkable promotion by breaking the original equilibrium in reaction systems. Herein, Cu-ZnOZrO2 (CZZ), prepared by the co-precipitation method, and commercial hydrotalcite (HTC) were physically mixed varying the CZZ/HTC ratios to explore their interactions and thus impacts on catalysis performance, which were conducted on the micro-reactor apparatus equipped with a GC. Crystals of single CZZ and HT were confirmed by characteristic peaks in the XRD spectrum, and the CZZ/HTs simply show as overlays of single CZZ and HT. The BET surface areas of CZZ and activated HTC are 35.8 and 175.6 m2/g, respectively. The CZZ and HT still remain separate at the nanoscale after mixing. In a typical reaction, the CO2 conversion scores the similar level as single component Cu-ZnO-ZrO2 catalyst, yet the methanol selectivity is 50 % higher, reaching over 90 % at 523 K and 30 bars. The reason results from synergies between CZZ and HT. The former provides active sites for CO2 hydrogenation, while the later provides sites for CO2 and H2O adsorption. Accordingly, CO2 molecules are easily caught and react on copper sites and produced H2O molecules are then quickly removed from the copper surface. The present work provides an efficient and simple method to elevate catalytic performance of traditional copper-based catalysts by introducing hydrotalcites, promoting the catalytic properties in aspects of methanol selectivity. Since the as-obtained catalyst can also be easily fine-tuned by changing the CZZ:HTC ratio, it exhibits promising applications in methanol synthesis by CO2 hydrogenation.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publication14th International Conference on Greenhouse Gas Control Technologies, GHGT 2018; Melbourne; Australia; 21 October 2018 through 25 October 2018
Publication statusPublished - 2018
EventInternational Conference on Greenhouse Gas Control Technologies 2018 - Melbourne, Australia
Duration: 21 Oct 201825 Oct 2018
Conference number: 14th
https://ghgt.info (Website)


ConferenceInternational Conference on Greenhouse Gas Control Technologies 2018
Abbreviated titleGHGT 2018
Internet address


  • CO
  • Cu-Zn-ZrO
  • hydrotalcite
  • methanol
  • sorption

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