Catalysis Today, Vol.317, 12-20, 2018
Preparation of a highly active ternary Cu-Zn-Al oxide methanol synthesis catalyst by supercritical CO2 anti-solvent precipitation
Methanol synthesis using Cu/ZnO/Al2O3 catalysts is a well-established industrial process. Catalyst development is always an important factor and this has resulted in the current fully optimised commercial catalyst that is prepared by co-precipitation via hydroxycarbonate precursors. Recently, the synthesis of a CuZn hydroxycarbonate precursor, analogous to the rare mineral georgeite, was reported to produce a high activity methanol synthesis catalyst. Here we report the addition of Al3+, the third component found in industrial catalysts, to the zincian georgeite-derived catalyst prepared using a supercritical CO2 anti-solvent precipitation methodology. The co-addition of an AlO(OH) sol to the Cu/Zn precursor solution was found to not disrupt the formation of the CuZn georgeite phase, while providing efficient mixing of the Al3+ within the material. The catalyst derived from the CuZn georgeite precursor phase doped with Al3+ showed a high level of methanol synthesis productivity, which was comparable to that of the binary CuZn georgeite derived catalyst. This material also exhibited enhanced stability during an accelerated ageing test compared to the non-Al doped zincian georgeite material. Performance was benchmarked against an industrially relevant Cu/ZnO/Al2O3 standard catalyst.