• copper;
  • fluidized-bed reactor;
  • methanol synthesis;
  • nanocomposites;
  • two-step deposition;
  • zinc oxide


Highly loaded copper catalysts supported on alumina are synthesized applying the cyclic two-step CVD of the precursor copper(II)diethylamino-2-propoxide in a fluidized-bed reactor. Copper/zinc oxide/alumina composites are synthesized by either the CVD of the precursor bis[bis(trimethylsilyl)amido]zinc on Cu/Al2O3, or the CVD of the Cu precursor on Zn-pretreated alumina, impregnating with diethyl zinc in addition. The composites are extensively characterized by atomic absorption spectroscopy (AAS), elemental analysis (EA), mass spectrometry (MS), N2 physisorption, N2O reactive frontal chromatography (RFC), and X-ray diffraction (XRD). The Cu and ZnO nanoparticles originating from the efficient two-step procedure, consisting of adsorption and subsequent decomposition of the adsorbed species in two separated steps, are highly dispersed, X-ray amorphous, and, in the case of the Cu-containing catalysts, have high specific Cu surface areas. The catalytic activities are determined both in methanol synthesis, to judge the contact between the deposited Cu and ZnO nanoparticles, and in the steam reforming of methanol (SRM) to probe the stability of the Cu particles. The turn-over frequencies (TOF) in methanol synthesis of these Cu/ZnO/Al2O3 catalysts are higher than that of a commercial ternary catalyst. The varied sequence of the CVD of Cu and ZnO on alumina leads to catalysts with similar activities in the case of similar specific Cu areas.