The active site of methanol synthesis over Cu/ZnO/Al2O3 industrial catalysts

Malte Behrens*, Felix Studt, Igor Kasatkin, Stefanie Kühl, Michael Hävecker, Frank Abild-Pedersen, Stefan Zander, Frank Girgsdies, Patrick Kurr, Benjamin Louis Kniep, Michael Tovar, Richard W. Fischer, Jens K. Nørskov, Robert Schlögl

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review

Abstract

One of the main stumbling blocks in developing rational design strategies for heterogeneous catalysis is that the complexity of the catalysts impairs efforts to characterize their active sites. We show how to identify the crucial atomic structure motif for the industrial Cu/ZnO/Al2Omethanol synthesis catalyst by using a combination of experimental evidence from bulk, surface-sensitive, and imaging methods collected on real high-performance catalytic systems in combination with density functional theory calculations. The active site consists of Cu steps decorated with Zn atoms, all stabilized by a series of well-defined bulk defects and surface species that need to be present jointly for the system to work.

Original languageEnglish
JournalScience
Volume336
Issue number6083
Pages (from-to)893-897
Number of pages5
ISSN0036-8075
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2012
Externally publishedYes

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