Indium Oxide as a Superior Catalyst for Methanol Synthesis by CO2 Hydrogenation

Angew Chem Int Ed Engl. 2016 May 17;55(21):6261-5. doi: 10.1002/anie.201600943. Epub 2016 Mar 17.


Methanol synthesis by CO2 hydrogenation is attractive in view of avoiding the environmental implications associated with the production of the traditional syngas feedstock and mitigating global warming. However, there still is a lack of efficient catalysts for such alternative processes. Herein, we unveil the high activity, 100 % selectivity, and remarkable stability for 1000 h on stream of In2 O3 supported on ZrO2 under industrially relevant conditions. This strongly contrasts to the benchmark Cu-ZnO-Al2 O3 catalyst, which is unselective and experiences rapid deactivation. In-depth characterization of the In2 O3 -based materials points towards a mechanism rooted in the creation and annihilation of oxygen vacancies as active sites, whose amount can be modulated in situ by co-feeding CO and boosted through electronic interactions with the zirconia carrier. These results constitute a promising basis for the design of a prospective technology for sustainable methanol production.

Keywords: CO2 hydrogenation; indium oxide; methanol synthesis; oxygen vacancies; zirconium oxide.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't