Evolution of intermetallic GaPd2/SiO2 catalyst and optimization for methanol synthesis at ambient pressure

Elisabetta M. Fiordaliso*, Irek Sharafutdinov, Hudson W. P. Carvalho, Jan Kehres, Jan-D. Grunwaldt, Ib Chorkendorff, Christian D. Damsgaard

*Corresponding author for this work

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The CO2 hydrogenation to methanol is efficiently catalyzed at ambient pressure by nanodispersed intermetallic GaPd2/SiO2 catalysts prepared by incipient wetness impregnation. Here we optimize the catalyst in terms of metal content and reduction temperature in relation to its catalytic activity. We find that the intrinsic activity is higher for the GaPd2/SiO2 catalyst with a metal loading of 13 wt.% compared to catalysts with 23 wt.% and 7 wt.%, indicating that there is an optimum particle size for the reaction of around 8 nm. The highest catalytic activity is measured on catalysts reduced at 550 °C. To unravel the formation of the active phase, we studied calcined GaPd2/SiO2 catalysts with 23 wt.% and 13 wt.% using a combination of in situ techniques: X-ray diffraction (XRD), X-ray absorption near edge fine structure (XANES) and extended X-ray absorption fine structure (EXAFS). We find that the catalyst with higher metal content reduces to metallic Pd in a mixture of H2/Ar at room temperature, while the catalyst with lower metal content retains a mixture of PdO and Pd up to 140 °C. Both catalysts form the GaPd2 phase above 300 °C, albeit the fraction of crystalline intermediate Pd nanoparticles of the catalyst with higher metal loading reduces at higher temperature. In the final state, the catalyst with higher metal loading contains a fraction of unalloyed metallic Pd, while the catalyst with lower metal loading is phase pure. We discuss the alloying mechanism leading to the catalyst active phase formation selecting three temperatures: 25 °C, 320 °C and 550 °C.

Original languageEnglish
JournalScience and Technology of Advanced Materials
Issue number1
Pages (from-to)521-531
Number of pages11
Publication statusPublished - 2019


  • Methanol synthesis
  • CO2 hydrogenation
  • GaPd2
  • Intermetallics
  • Optimization
  • in situ XRD
  • in situ EXAFS


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