Flame Synthesis of Cu/ZnO-CeO2Catalysts: Synergistic Metal-Support Interactions Promote CH3OH Selectivity in CO2Hydrogenation

Jiadong Zhu, Diana Ciolca, Liang Liu, Alexander Parastaev, Nikolay Kosinov, Emiel J.M. Hensen (Corresponding author)

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61 Citations (SciVal)


The hydrogenation of CO2 to CH3OH is an important reaction for future renewable energy scenarios. Herein, we compare Cu/ZnO, Cu/CeO2, and Cu/ZnO-CeO2 catalysts prepared by flame spray pyrolysis. The Cu loading and support composition were varied to understand the role of Cu-ZnO and Cu-CeO2 interactions. CeO2 addition improves Cu dispersion with respect to ZnO, owing to stronger Cu-CeO2 interactions. The ternary Cu/ZnO-CeO2 catalysts displayed a substantially higher CH3OH selectivity than binary Cu/CeO2 and Cu/ZnO catalysts. The high CH3OH selectivity in comparison with a commercial Cu-ZnO catalyst is also confirmed for Cu/ZnO-CeO2 catalyst prepared with high Cu loading (∼40 wt %). In situ IR spectroscopy was used to probe metal-support interactions in the reduced catalysts and to gain insight into CO2 hydrogenation over the Cu-Zn-Ce oxide catalysts. The higher CH3OH selectivity can be explained by synergistic Cu-CeO2 and Cu-ZnO interactions. Cu-ZnO interactions promote CO2 hydrogenation to CH3OH by Zn-decorated Cu active sites. Cu-CeO2 interactions inhibit the reverse water-gas shift reaction due to a high formate coverage of Cu and a high rate of hydrogenation of the CO intermediate to CH3OH. These insights emphasize the potential of fine-tuning metal-support interactions to develop improved Cu-based catalysts for CO2 hydrogenation to CH3OH.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)4880-4892
Number of pages13
JournalACS Catalysis
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - 16 Apr 2021

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The authors acknowledge financial support from The Netherlands Organization for Scientific Research (NWO) for a Vici grant. Mengyue Wu (TU Delft) is acknowledged for carrying out the STEM-EDX measurements and Adelheid Elemans-Mehring (TU Eindhoven) for performing elemental analysis.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021 The Authors. Published by American Chemical Society.


  • ceria
  • COhydrogenation
  • flame spray pyrolysis
  • metal-support interaction
  • methanol


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