Kinetic mechanism for the reaction between methanol and water over a Cu-ZnO-Al2O3 catalyst

C. J. Jiang, D. L. Trimm, M. S. Wainwright*, N. W. Cant

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

242 Citations (Scopus)


The steam reforming of methanol over a Cu/ZnO/Al2O3 catalyst has been investigated. The reaction yields carbon dioxide and hydrogen in the ratio of one to three, with small amounts of dimethyl ether and carbon monoxide being produced at high conversion. Comparison of the rates of methanol dehydrogenation and of steam reforming over the same catalyst indicate that steam reforming proceeds via dehydrogenation to methyl formate. Methyl formate then hydrolyses to formic acid which decomposes to carbon dioxide and hydrogen. Detailed studies of the kinetics of the reactions show that methanol dehydrogenation controls the rate of steam reforming. Langmuir-Hinshelwood modelling indicates that hydrogen extraction from adsorbed methoxy groups is rate determining to the overall processes.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)145-158
Number of pages14
JournalApplied Catalysis A, General
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 23 Apr 1993


  • copper/zinc oxide/alumina
  • formate
  • kinetics
  • mechanism
  • methanol synthesis
  • steam reforming


Dive into the research topics of 'Kinetic mechanism for the reaction between methanol and water over a Cu-ZnO-Al2O3 catalyst'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this