Acta Physico-Chimica Sinica ›› 2020, Vol. 36 ›› Issue (11): 1911008.doi: 10.3866/PKU.WHXB201911008

• Article • Previous Articles     Next Articles

Inverse Decoration of ZnO on Small-Sized Cu/Sio2 with Controllable Cu-ZnO Interaction for CO2 Hydrogenation to Produce Methanol

Hanlin Lyu1, Bing Hu2, Guoliang Liu2, Xinlin Hong2,*(), Lin Zhuang1,2,*()   

  1. 1 Institute for Advanced Studies, Wuhan University, Wuhan 430072, P. R. China
    2 College of Chemistry and Molecular Sciences, Wuhan University, Wuhan 430072, P. R. China
  • Received:2019-11-04 Published:2020-01-06
  • Contact: Xinlin Hong,Lin Zhuang;
  • Supported by:
    the National Natural Science Foundation of China(21872106);the National Natural Science Foundation of China(21603244);the Fundamental Research Funds for the Central Universities, China(2042019kf0019)


Cu-ZnO is broadly used as a catalyst in CO2 reduction to produce methanol, but fabricating small-sized Cu-ZnO catalysts with strong Cu-ZnO interactions remains a challenge. In this work, a simple, low-cost method is proposed to synthesize small-sized Cu-ZnO/SiO2 with high activity and controllable Cu-ZnO interactions derived from copper silicate nanotubes. A series of Cu-ZnO/SiO2 samples with different amounts of ZnO were prepared. The activities of the as-prepared catalysts for methanol synthesis were tested, and the results revealed a volcano relationship with the weight fraction of ZnO. At 523 K, the methanol selectivity increased from 20% to 67% when 14% ZnO was added to the Cu/SiO2 catalyst, while the conversion of CO2 increased first and then decreased with the addition of ZnO. The optimum space time yield (STY) of 244 g·kg-1·h-1 was obtained on C-SiO2-7%ZnO at 543 K under 4.5 MPa H2/CO2. Furthermore, the synergistic effect of Cu and ZnO was studied by high resolution transmission electron microscopy (HRTEM), powder X-ray diffraction (XRD), X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy (XPS), in situ diffuse-reflectance infrared Fourier transform spectroscopy (DRIFTS), and temperature-programmed reduction (TPR) analyses. The HRTEM images showed that the Cu particles come in contact with ZnO more frequently with increased addition of ZnO, indicating that the catalysts with higher ZnO contents have a greater probability of formation of the Cu-ZnO interface, which promotes the catalytical activity of Cu-ZnO/SiO2. Meanwhile, the HRTEM images, XRD patterns, and TPR results showed that the addition of excess ZnO leads to an increase in the size of the Cu particles, which in turn decreases the total number of active sites and further degrades the activity of the catalysts. The activation energy (Ea) for methanol synthesis and reverse water gas shift (RWGS) was calculated based on the results of the catalytical test. With the addition of ZnO, Ea for methanol synthesis decreased from 72.5 to 34.8 kJ·mol-1, while that for RWGS increased from 61.3 to 102.7 kJ·mol-1, illustrating that ZnO promotes the synergistic effect of Cu-ZnO. The results of XPS and in situ DRIFTS showed that the amount of Cu+ species decreases with the addition of ZnO, indicating that the Cu-ZnO interface serves as the active site. The Cu surface area and the turnover frequency (TOF) of methanol were calculated based on the H2-TPR curves. The TOF of methanol on the Cu-ZnO/SiO2 catalysts at 543 K increased from 1.5 × 10-3 to 3.9 × 10-3 s-1 with the addition of ZnO, which further confirmed the promotion effect of the Cu-ZnO interface on the methanol synthesis. This study provides a method to construct Cu-ZnO interfaces based on copper silicate and to investigate the influence of ZnO on Cu-ZnO/SiO2 catalysts.

Key words: CO2 reduction to methanol, Cu-ZnO catalyst, Copper silicate, Cu-ZnO synergistic effect