Structure-activity relations in novel catalysts for decentralized methanol synthesis


Project description
Decentralized production of methanol would constitute cheap and mobile facilities that produce fuel close to the site of demand. Today, methanol production at industrial scale is based on a copper/zinc oxide catalyst. Numerous research groups have since 1960’s invested a great effort to optimize the performance and lifetime of this catalyst. The commercial system suffers from severe deactivation in terms of graduate decreased efficiency during usage. The development of a new effective catalyst that works at low temperature and pressure is highly needed as it is prerequisite for sustainable synthesis of methanol in decentralized units. Two promising catalyst for methanol production have recently been discovered at DTU Physics.

The catalytic activity (performance) is strongly coupled to the structure (morphology) of the catalyst. However, the origin and nature of this structure-activity relationship is material dependent and must therefore be exploited experimentally in order to pin-point the aspects that ensure a high performance and stability. Hence, the main purpose of this project is to elucidate how the catalyst efficiency (short and long term) is coupled to the dynamic structure of the catalysts for optimization of performance. DTU Cen

The investigations of the novel catalytic systems will be performed during (in situ) catalyst formation and methanol synthesis. The catalytic performance is systematically studied upon varying the experimental conditions, such as temperature, treatment time, gas composition, alloy composition, modifier material, and catalyst support material. The appropriate in situ techniques are environmental transmission electron microscopy (ETEM), X-ray diffraction (XRD) and X-ray absorption spectroscopy (XAS). The individual techniques reveal different types of information about the catalyst. However, combining measurements allows analysis of the relationship between the catalyst performance and the catalyst in terms of important parameters such as size distribution, morphology, dispersion, support interaction, chemical state, and surface structure.

Det frie forskningsråd / Technology and production

Foto: iStock


December 1st, 2014
Cristiano Spiga is now part of the project team. Cristiano started December 1st as a PhD student.




Christian Danvad Damsgaard
Associate professor
+45 45 25 64 87


Ib Chorkendorff
DTU Physics
+45 45 25 31 70