Methanol is a very promising chemical hydrogen
carrier molecule. The well-established industrial methanol
synthesis process is a reference case for the desired
sustainable synthesis from CO2 and “green” hydrogen.
The catalyst employed in this process has been studied
intensively and recent results demonstrate significant
progress in the understanding of methanol synthesis from
CO2, which are surveyed in this contribution. The next
step is the employment of this new knowledge basis for
the development of new and better catalytic materials.
The major challenges are related to synthetic inorganic
chemistry for an increased Cu dispersion, defect generation
in metallic nanoparticles for a higher concentration of
active sites, and surface/interface design between the two
major catalyst components Cu and ZnO, which seems to
be controlled to some extent by the presence of suitable
promoters in the ZnO lattice.