Greener and facile synthesis of Cu/ZnO catalysts for CO2hydrogenation to methanol by urea hydrolysis of acetates

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Cu/ZnO-based catalysts for methanol synthesis by COx hydrogenation are widely prepared via co-precipitation of sodium carbonates and nitrate salts, which eventually produces a large amount of wastewater from the washing step to remove sodium (Na+) and/or nitrate (NO3-) residues. The step is inevitable since the remaining Na+ acts as a catalyst poison whereas leftover NO3- induces metal agglomeration during the calcination. In this study, sodium- and nitrate-free hydroxy-carbonate precursors were prepared via urea hydrolysis co-precipitation of acetate salt and compared with the case using nitrate salts. The Cu/ZnO catalysts derived from calcination of the washed and unwashed precursors show catalytic performance comparable to the commercial Cu/ZnO/Al2O3 catalyst in CO2 hydrogenation at 240-280 °C and 331 bar. By the combination of urea hydrolysis and the nitrate-free precipitants, the catalyst preparation is simpler with fewer steps, even without the need for a washing step and pH control, rendering the synthesis more sustainable. This journal is

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)14323-14333
JournalRSC Advances
Issue number24
Publication statusPublished - 2021


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