Development of an Improved Kinetic Model for CO2 Hydrogenation to Methanol

Siphesihle Mbatha, Sébastien Thomas, Ksenia Parkhomenko, Anne Cécile Roger, Benoit Louis, Xiaoti Cui, Ray Everson, Henrietta Langmi, Nicholas Musyoka, Jianwei Ren

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


The kinetics of methanol synthesis remains debatable for various reasons, such as the lack of scientifically conclusive agreement about reaction mechanisms. The focus of this paper is on the evaluation of the intrinsic kinetics of the methanol synthesis reaction based on CO2 hydrogenation and the associated reverse water–gas shift as overall reactions. The industrial methanol synthesis catalyst, Cu/ZnO/Al2O3/MgO, was used for performing the kinetic studies. An optimal kinetic model was assessed for its ability to predict the experimental data from differential to integral conditions, contrary to the typical fitting of only the integral conditions’ data (common practice, as reported in the literature). The catalyst testing and kinetic evaluations were performed at various temperatures (210–260 °C) and pressures (40–77 bar), and for different stoichiometric numbers (0.9–1.9), H2/CO2 ratios (3.0–4.4) and carbon oxide ratios (0.9–1.0), in an isothermal fixed bed reactor, operated in a plug-flow mode. Experiments with CO in the feed were also generated and fitted. Different literature kinetic models with different assumptions on active sites, rate-determining steps, and hence, model formulations were fitted and compared. The original Seidel model appeared to fit the kinetic data very well, but it has twelve parameters. The modified model (MOD) we propose is derived from this Seidel model, but it has fewer (nine) parameters—it excludes CO hydrogenation, but it takes into consideration the morphological changes of active sites and CO adsorption. This MOD model, with three active sites, gave the best fit to all the data sets.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1349
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2023


  • CO hydrogenation
  • Langmuir–Hinshelwood/Hougen–Watson kinetics
  • methanol synthesis
  • modified kinetic model
  • power-to-methanol

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Catalysis
  • General Environmental Science
  • Physical and Theoretical Chemistry


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