Stockholm University

Catalytic Methanol Production for CO2 Mitigation

  • Climate
  • Performance
  • Properties
  • Structures
Academic project

Research question

There is an opportunity to transform the fossil intense chemical industry that produces base chemicals for plastics, fuels, pharmaceuticals, fertilizers, detergents, and various materials etc., into a fully sustainable industry using hydrogen from water electrolyzes and captured CO2. Since the operational conditions in terms of pressure and temperature will need to become different compared to the fossil-based industry, new catalyst needs to be developed. The project focusses on probing different catalytic materials for methanol synthesis using operando x-ray photoelectron spectroscopy at pressures and temperatures that matches the operational conditions. The first goal is to determine how the chemical state of the surface of the catalyst changes depending on the material exposed to various operational conditions. The second goal is to determine intermediates on the surface to provide insight into the reaction mechanism and how that depends on the catalytic material and operational conditions. Based on the insights new catalytic materials will be evaluated resulting in a feed-back loop with theory and synthesis.

Sustainability aspects

In order to fulfill the Paris agreement to stay below 1.5 C it will be necessary to reach negative CO2 emission. The chemical industry can instead of producing CO2 from fossil sources cause neutral emission by capturing CO2 from large emission source such as powerplants or cement industry or in the future from direct capture of atmospheric CO2 to generate negative emissions. Instead of only sequestrating the CO2 underground, we can use it in part as a replacement for fossil sources as feed stock for the chemical industry generating an enormous number of various products that our current society requires. Furthermore, we can base the energy requirement on wind and solar farms that split water into the other major component in terms of hydrogen, a process now planned to be used for green steel.

researcher photo

Stockholm University

Anders Nilsson


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