Turning a Methanation Catalyst into a Methanol Producer: In-Co Catalysts for the Direct Hydrogenation of CO2 to Methanol

The direct hydrogenation of CO2 to methanol using green hydrogen is regarded as a potential technology to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and the dependence on fossil fuels. For this technology to become feasible, highly selective and productive catalysts that can operate under a wide range of reaction conditions near thermodynamic conversion are required. Here, we demonstrate that indium in close contact with cobalt catalyses the formation of methanol from CO2 with high selectivity (>80%) and productivity (0.86 gCH3OH.gcatalyst-1.h-1) at conversion levels close to thermodynamic equilibrium, even at temperatures as high as 300 °C and at moderate pressures (50 bar). The studied In@Co system, obtained via co- precipitation, undergoes in situ transformation under the reaction conditions to form the active phase. Extensive characterization demonstrates that the active catalyst is composed of a mixed metal carbide (Co3InC0.75), indium oxide (In2O3) and metallic Co.