Journal of Nanomaterials & Molecular NanotechnologyISSN: 2324-8777

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New Perspectives on the Unique Micro and Nano-Structural Features of the Cu/ZnO Methanol Synthesis Catalyst

The vapor phase methanol process, introduced by ICI technology in 1966, and the liquid phase methanol synthesis process (LPMeOHtm) introduced first by ChemSystems, Inc. (now Nexant) in 1975, are seen as the 2 big research/technology advances in the conventional methanol synthesis technology. The success of these 2 processes, both from a scientific and commercial standpoint, primarily is driven by the very superior, almost anomalous, performance of the proprietary Cu/ZnO/Al2O3ICI technical catalyst, and it’s very unique microstructural features, often termed as a “microcrystalline sponge”. The LPMeOHtm process overcomes some of the glaring drawbacks associated with the vapor phase process, viz., highly exothermal nature of methanol synthesis reactions, presence of local reactor hot spots which presents possibility of thermal runaways, and low per-pass CO/H2 conversions.

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