Enhanced Catalytic Performance of Zr Modified CuO/ZnO/Al₂O₃ Catalyst for Methanol and DME Synthesis via CO₂ Hydrogenation


Zirconium (Zr) modified CuO/ZnO/Al2O3 (CZA) catalysts with different aluminum (Al) and Zr contents were synthesized by the co-precipitation method. The synthesized CuO/ZnO/ZrO2/Al2O3 (CZZA) catalysts were comprehensively characterized and studied for methanol synthesis via CO2 hydrogenation. The CZZA catalyst showed the highest methanol yield of 12.4 % at 220 °C and 2.76 MPa with an optimized catalyst composition of Cu/Zn/Zr/Al (atomic ratio) at 4:2:1:0.5. The CZZA catalyst showed better activity than that of the CZA catalyst and a superior stability for methanol synthesis. There was no decrease in the BET surface area and very little coke formation for the spent CZZA catalyst, after 300 h of methanol synthesis. Bifunctional catalysts, composed of CZZA and HZSM-5, were investigated for dimethyl ether (DME) synthesis directly from CO2 hydrogenation, and a maximum DME yield of 18.3 % was obtained at a reaction temperature of 240 °C and a pressure of 2.76 MPa. The stability of the bifunctional CZZA and HZSM-5 catalyst during the DME synthesis also significantly improved, as compared to that of the CZA and HZSM-5. A significant decrease in the BET surface area and an increase in coking on the spent CZZA catalyst were observed after 100 h of DME synthesis, indicating a detrimental effect on CZZA stability when a HZSM-5 catalyst was present. The changes in structural properties (e.g., BET surface area and crystallinity) and coking for HZSM-5 could be responsible for the deactivation of the bifunctional catalyst.


Chemical and Biochemical Engineering

Research Center/Lab(s)

Center for Research in Energy and Environment (CREE)


This work was supported by the U.S. Department of Energy through contract DE-AR0000806.

Keywords and Phrases

CO2hydrogenation; CuO/ZnO/ZrO2/Al2O3 (CZZA); Dimethyl ether; Methanol; Stability

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Article - Journal

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© 2020 Elsevier, All rights reserved.

Publication Date

01 Feb 2020