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Nat Chem. 2014 Apr;6(4):320-4. doi: 10.1038/nchem.1873. Epub 2014 Mar 2.

Discovery of a Ni-Ga catalyst for carbon dioxide reduction to methanol.

Author information

1
SUNCAT Center for Interface Science and Catalysis, SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory, 2575 Sand Hill Road, Menlo Park, California 94025, USA.
2
Centre for Individual Nanoparticle Functionality (CINF), Department of Physics, Building 307 Technical University of Denmark, DK-2800 Lyngby, Denmark.
3
1] SUNCAT Center for Interface Science and Catalysis, SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory, 2575 Sand Hill Road, Menlo Park, California 94025, USA [2] SUNCAT Center for Interface Science and Catalysis, Department of Chemical Engineering, Stanford University, Stanford, California 94305, USA.

Abstract

The use of methanol as a fuel and chemical feedstock could become very important in the development of a more sustainable society if methanol could be efficiently obtained from the direct reduction of CO2 using solar-generated hydrogen. If hydrogen production is to be decentralized, small-scale CO2 reduction devices are required that operate at low pressures. Here, we report the discovery of a Ni-Ga catalyst that reduces CO2 to methanol at ambient pressure. The catalyst was identified through a descriptor-based analysis of the process and the use of computational methods to identify Ni-Ga intermetallic compounds as stable candidates with good activity. We synthesized and tested a series of catalysts and found that Ni5Ga3 is particularly active and selective. Comparison with conventional Cu/ZnO/Al2O3 catalysts revealed the same or better methanol synthesis activity, as well as considerably lower production of CO. We suggest that this is a first step towards the development of small-scale low-pressure devices for CO2 reduction to methanol.

PMID:
24651199
DOI:
10.1038/nchem.1873

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