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Cu-Based Catalyst Resulting from a Cu,Zn,Al Hydrotalcite-Like Compound: A Microstructural, Thermoanalytical, and In Situ XAS Study

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Kühl,  Stefanie
Inorganic Chemistry, Fritz Haber Institute, Max Planck Society;

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Tarasov,  Andrey
Inorganic Chemistry, Fritz Haber Institute, Max Planck Society;

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Zander,  Stefan
Inorganic Chemistry, Fritz Haber Institute, Max Planck Society;

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Kasatkin,  Igor
Inorganic Chemistry, Fritz Haber Institute, Max Planck Society;

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Behrens,  Malte
Inorganic Chemistry, Fritz Haber Institute, Max Planck Society;

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Citation

Kühl, S., Tarasov, A., Zander, S., Kasatkin, I., & Behrens, M. (2014). Cu-Based Catalyst Resulting from a Cu,Zn,Al Hydrotalcite-Like Compound: A Microstructural, Thermoanalytical, and In Situ XAS Study. Chemistry - A European Journal, 20(13), 3782-3792. doi:10.1002/chem.201302599.


Cite as: http://hdl.handle.net/11858/00-001M-0000-0014-9970-F
Abstract
A Cu-based methanol synthesis catalyst was obtained from a phase pure Cu,Zn,Al hydrotalcite-like precursor, which was prepared by co-precipitation. This sample was intrinsically more active than a conventionally prepared Cu/ZnO/Al2O3 catalyst. Upon thermal decomposition in air, the [(Cu0.5Zn0.17Al0.333)(OH)2(CO3)0.17]⋅mH2O precursor is transferred into a carbonate-modified, amorphous mixed oxide. The calcined catalyst can be described as well-dispersed “CuO” within ZnAl2O4 still containing stabilizing carbonate with a strong interaction of Cu2+ ions with the Zn–Al matrix. The reduction of this material was carefully analyzed by complementary temperature-programmed reduction (TPR) and near-edge X-ray absorption fine structure (NEXAFS) measurements. The results fully describe the reduction mechanism with a kinetic model that can be used to predict the oxidation state of Cu at given reduction conditions. The reaction proceeds in two steps through a kinetically stabilized CuI intermediate. With reduction, a nanostructured catalyst evolves with metallic Cu particles dispersed in a ZnAl2O4 spinel-like matrix. Due to the strong interaction of Cu and the oxide matrix, the small Cu particles (7 nm) of this catalyst are partially embedded leading to lower absolute activity in comparison with a catalyst comprised of less-embedded particles. Interestingly, the exposed Cu surface area exhibits a superior intrinsic activity, which is related to a positive effect of the interface contact of Cu and its surroundings.