Ni-In Synergy in CO2 Hydrogenation to Methanol

Jiadong Zhu, Francesco Cannizzaro, Liang Liu, Hao Zhang, Nikolay A. Kosinov, Ivo A.W. Filot, J. Rabeah, A. Brückner, Emiel J.M. Hensen (Corresponding author)

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Indium oxide (In2O3) is a promising catalyst for selective CH3OH synthesis from CO2 but displays insufficient activity at low reaction temperatures. By screening a range of promoters (Co, Ni, Cu, and Pd) in combination with In2O3 using flame spray pyrolysis (FSP) synthesis, Ni is identified as the most suitable first-row transition-metal promoter with similar performance as Pd–In2O3. NiO–In2O3 was optimized by varying the Ni/In ratio using FSP. The resulting catalysts including In2O3 and NiO end members have similar high specific surface areas and morphology. The main products of CO2 hydrogenation are CH3OH and CO with CH4 being only observed at high NiO loading (≥75 wt %). The highest CH3OH rate (∼0.25 gMeOH/(gcat h), 250 °C, and 30 bar) is obtained for a NiO loading of 6 wt %. Characterization of the as-prepared catalysts reveals a strong interaction between Ni cations and In2O3 at low NiO loading (≤6 wt %). H2-TPR points to a higher surface density of oxygen vacancy (Ov) due to Ni substitution. X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy, X-ray absorption spectroscopy, and electron paramagnetic resonance analysis of the used catalysts suggest that Ni cations can be reduced to Ni as single atoms and very small clusters during CO2 hydrogenation. Supportive density functional theory calculations indicate that Ni promotion of CH3OH synthesis from CO2 is mainly due to low-barrier H2 dissociation on the reduced Ni surface species, facilitating hydrogenation of adsorbed CO2 on Ov.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)11371–11384
Number of pages14
JournalACS Catalysis
Issue number18
Publication statusPublished - 17 Sept 2021


FundersFunder number
Netherlands Center for Multiscale Catalytic Energy Conversion
Horizon 2020 Framework Programme
Marie Skłodowska‐Curie801359
Ministerie van Onderwijs, Cultuur en Wetenschap
Nederlandse Organisatie voor Wetenschappelijk Onderzoek


    • CH OH
    • CO hydrogenation
    • Ni promotion
    • Ni-In synergy
    • flame spray pyrolysis


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