Methanol from CO2 Made Easy

  • Author: Xin Su
  • Published: 10 August 2014
  • Copyright: Wiley-VCH Verlag GmbH & Co. KGaA, Weinheim
  • Source / Publisher: Science/AAAS
thumbnail image: Methanol from CO<sub>2</sub> Made Easy

Methanol, a widely used chemical and a basic industrial starting material, is usually synthesized from H2, CO2, and CO at high pressures and temperatures. Chemists have been seeking ways to make methanol from only CO2 and H2 under milder conditions to lower the manufacturing cost as well as alleviate CO2 emission.

José A. Rodriguez, Brookhaven National Laboratory, Upton, NY, USA, and co-workers have made exciting progress towards efficient chemical activation of CO2. The copper-ceria (CeOx/Cu(111)) and copper-ceria-titania (Cu/CeOx/TiO2(110)) catalysts they have developed could provide both metal and oxide centers at the copper-ceria interface, enabling unique reaction pathways for the transformation from CO2 to CH3OH.
Taking advantage of the synergy of the bifunctional reaction sites, the new catalytic system showed much higher activities than pure metals and bimetallic catalysts. More importantly, this design strategy has paved the way for a variety of tunable heterogeneous catalysts with diverse activities.

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