Production of hydrogen from methanol over Cu/ZnO catalysts promoted by ZrO2 and Al2O3

R.M. Navarro, I. Melián-Cabrera, M. Boutonnet, H. Birgersson, J. Agrell, J.L.G. Fierro

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Production of H2 from methanol by steam reforming, partial oxidation, or a combination thereof was studied over Cu/ZnO-based catalysts. The catalysts were characterized by a variety of techniques, including N2O chemisorption, X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy, X-ray diffraction, and temperature-programmed reduction/oxidation. The influence of feed composition, reaction temperature, and catalyst formulation on H2 production rate, product distribution, and catalyst lifetime was investigated. Distinct differences between the processes were observed with respect to catalyst behavior. ZrO2-containing catalysts, especially Cu/ZnO/ZrO2/Al2O3, exhibit the best performance in the steam reforming reaction. During partial oxidation, however, a binary Cu/ZnO catalyst exhibits the lowest light-off temperature and the lowest level of CO by-product. The redox properties of the catalyst appear to play a key role in determining the pathway for H2 production. In particular, the extent of methanol and/or H2 combustion at differential O2 conversion is strongly dependent on the ease of copper oxidation in the catalyst.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)389-403
Number of pages15
JournalJournal of Catalysis
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 25-Oct-2003
Externally publishedYes


  • XPS
  • N2O chemisorption
  • Fuel cell
  • Methanol steam reforming
  • Cu/ZnO/ZrO2/Al2O3 catalyst
  • Methanol oxidation (partial)
  • Characterization

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