From Lab to Technical CO2 Hydrogenation Catalysts: Understanding PdZn Decomposition

The valorization of CO2 to produce high-value chemicals, such as methanol and hydrocarbons, represents key technology in the future net-zero society. Herein, we report further investigation of a PdZn/ZrO2 + SAPO-34 catalyst for conversion of CO2 and H2 into propane, already presented in a previous work. The focus of this contribution is on the scale up of this catalyst. In particular, we explored the effect of mixing (1:1 mass ratio) and shaping the two catalyst functions into tablets and extrudates using an alumina binder. Their catalytic performance was correlated with structural and spectroscopic characteristics using methods such as FT-IR and X-ray absorption spectroscopy. The two scaled-up bifunctional catalysts demonstrated worse performance than a 1:1 mass physical mixture of the two individual components. Indeed, we demonstrated that the preparation negatively affects the element distribution. The physical mixture is featured by the presence of a PdZn alloy, as demonstrated by our previous work on this sample and high hydrocarbon selectivity among products. For both tablets and extrudates, the characterization showed Zn migration to produce Zn aluminates from the alumina binder phase upon reduction. Moreover, the extrudates showed a remarkable higher amount of Zn aluminates before the activation rather than the tablets. Comparing tablets and extrudates with the physical mixture, no PdZn alloy was observed after activation and only the extrudates showed the presence of metallic Pd. Due to the Zn migration, SAPO-34 poisoning and subsequent deactivation of the catalyst could not be excluded. These findings corroborated the catalytic results: Zn aluminate formation and Pd0 separation could be responsible for the decrease of the catalytic activity of the extrudates, featured by high methane selectivity and unconverted methanol, while tablets displayed reduced methanol conversion to hydrocarbons mainly attributed to the partial deactivation of the SAPO-34.

Ticali, P., Salusso, D., Airi, A., Morandi, S., Borfecchia, E., Ramirez, A., Cordero-Lanzac, T., Gascon, J., Olsbye, U., Joensen, F., & Bordiga, S. (2023). From Lab to Technical CO2 Hydrogenation Catalysts: Understanding PdZn Decomposition. ACS Applied Materials & Interfaces.

This project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 Research and Innovation Programme under grant agreement no. 837733.

American Chemical Society (ACS)

ACS Applied Materials & Interfaces


PubMed ID

Additional Links

Permanent link to this record