Methanol—a bio-based platform molecule that can be used directly as a fuel or fuel additive, and can also be used to produce bulk chemicals and drop-in fuels—is currently mainly produced from methane and coal via an indirect syngas route. Now, a team of researchers in China reports a novel approach for the sustainable production of methanol from the catalytic conversion of cellulose over a series of non-precious Cu-based catalysts, including Cu-TiO2-Al2O3(Cu-TiAl), Cu-ZnO-Al2O3 (Cu-ZnAl), and Cu-ZrO2-Al2O3.
In a paper in the journal Fuel, the researchers report the effects of catalyst supports, Cu loading, and reaction conditions on the methanol yield.
They found that 5%Cu-TiAl showed the highest methanol yield of 30.7 wt% during catalytic conversion of cellulose at 250 °C and 1Mpa H2 for 10 h.
The catalysts were characterized by X-ray diffraction (XRD), X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy (XPS), Brunner − Emmett − Teller analysis (BET), high-resolution transmission electron microscope (HR-TEM), and temperature-programmed desorption of ammonia (TPD) to reveal the possible catalyst structure–reactivity relationship of these Cu-based catalysts.
It is found that the unique xOTi–Cu–AlOx interfacial structure and high acidity of 5%Cu-TiAl are beneficial for the selective cleavage of the C–C and C–O bonds within cellulose to form methanol.
This work provides a simple and efficient method to produce cellulosic methanol with relatively low energy consumption.—Wang et al.
Zhihao Wang, Shengpeng Xia, Chenyang Wang, Chaoxian Cui, Shunshun Kang, Anqing Zheng, Kuo Zeng, Zengli Zhao (2020) “Sustainable production of methanol from one-pot catalytic conversion of cellulose over non-precious copper-based catalysts,” Fuel doi: 10.1016/j.fuel.2022.123882.