Next Generation Methanol to Formaldehyde Selective Oxidation Catalysts


This project aims at developing new iron molybdate based catalysts for selective oxidation of methanol to formaldehyde with better activity, selectivity and lower rate of deactivation. The reaction mechanism and catalyst structure/activity relations will be investigated using computational and spectroscopic methods.


Formaldehyde (CH2O) is a highly important chemical intermediate prepared from methanol. Approximately 13 million ton are produced annually. Formaldehyde is a highly versatile chemical employed by the chemical and other industries to produce a large number of products used in daily life. Also, new processes for production of chemicals using bio-molecules and formaldehyde instead of crude oil are being explored. Synthesis of formaldehyde has not attracted nearly as much research attention as other catalytic processes. Consequently, the understanding of formaldehyde synthesis and catalyst development has not yet benefitted from recent years improvements in in-situ surface science and characterization in combination with rapidly improving techniques for computational modelling.

The project

Novel catalysts will be synthesized using e.g. flame spray pyrolysis, hydrothermal synthesis, co-precipitation, and precipitation using potassium super oxide. The reaction mechanism will be investigated using density functional theory calculations, in-situ IR spectroscopy, and temperature programmed techniques. The structure of the catalysts will be investigated under operating conditions using Raman and X-ray absorption spectroscopy. 

The project is funded by Danish Council for Independent Research (Project ID: DFF – 4184-00336) and will be running from 2015 - 2019 .


Anker Degn Jensen
DTU Kemiteknik
45 25 28 41


Martin Høj
DTU Kemiteknik
45 25 28 42