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Carbon Dioxide to Methanol Process
come from:Isis | time:2014-3-10 | views:

- Isis Project No 4425

A process for the hydrogenation of carbon dioxide (CO2), under mild conditions, to give methanol - a useful industrial chemical and fuel.

Marketing Opportunity

World demand for methanol is increasing because of its role in the manufacture of many useful chemicals (e.g. formaldehyde, acetic acid), its use as a clean and safe fuel and also in the generation of electricity in fuel cells. Most methanol is produced from methane and therefore depletes fossil fuel reserves. Fermentation routes to methanol have not proved to be particularly efficient and hence there is growing interest in production of methanol from renewable sources.

The Oxford Invention

The role of carbon dioxide (CO2) as a greenhouse gas and its contribution to global warming is widely recognized by scientists and governmental agencies. It would be highly desirable to find ways to efficiently store or, better still, to utilise the abundant and renewable CO2 resource in an environmentally friendly manner. However, this presents a fundamental challenge, as CO2 is both kinetically and thermodynamically stable. Storage of the CO2 molecule in a solid form has proved difficult, but some progress has been made using high surface area materials. A number of processes have been reported for the conversion of CO2 into alternative entities for both energy production and chemical feedstocks. However these reactions are far from ideal.

Researchers at Oxford have discovered a process to hydrogenate CO2 to methanol with 100% selectivity.  The new process offers the following advantages:

  • Operates at low temperatures - potentially lower process costs
  • Does not require transitional metal catalysts - avoids concerns with their disposal
  • Is specific for the production of methanol.

Patent Status

The Oxford Invention is the subject of a UK patent application. Isis would like to talk to companies interested in developing the commercial opportunity. Please contact the Isis Project Manager.