Authors: Mota, N; Guil-Lopez, R; Pawelec, BG; Fierro, JLG; Navarro, RM

RSC Adv.. vol: 8. page: 2046-2069.
Date: . 2018.
Doi: 10.1039/c8ra03291b.

The influence of aging of precipitates on the physical and catalytic properties of a copper/zinc oxide-aluminium (Cu/ZnO-Al) catalyst with an optimized composition (low Al concentration, Cu/Zn/Al = 68/29/3) prepared using co-precipitation has been investigated in detail. The change in the structure of precipitates with aging (from amorphous zincian georgeite to crystalline zincian malachite) strongly influences the micro- and nano-structure (Cu and ZnO crystallite size, exposed copper surface area, Cu-ZnO interactions and stability of ZnO) of the final Cu/ZnO-Al catalysts obtained after calcination and reduction of the precipitates. The results of catalytic activity in methanol synthesis from syngas show the higher intrinsic activity of the catalysts derived from aged zincian malachite precipitates as consequence of the increase in the exposed copper surface area and the Cu-ZnO contacts. The stability of catalysts under the reaction conditions was also improved in the catalysts derived from precipitates aged after crystallization of malachite. The catalyst derived from the precipitate removed close to the point of crystallization of malachite shows very poor activity in the methanol synthesis as consequence of its segregated large Cu crystallites in low contact with ZnO derived from the absence of carbonate retention after calcination of the precipitate and the presence of sodium species after conventional washing which favour the strong sintering and crystallization of Cu during reduction..