Publication Date

Spring 2012

Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Chemical and Materials Engineering


Melanie McNeil


Kinetic Modeling, Methanol

Subject Areas

Chemical engineering


The main purpose of this study was to investigate kinetic models proposed in the

literature for methanol synthesis and select the best fit model using regression techniques

in POLYMATH. Another aim was to use the results from the best fit model to explain

some aspects and resolve some questions related to methanol synthesis kinetics. Two

statistically sound kinetic models were chosen from literature based on their goodness of

fit to the respective kinetic data. POLYMATH, the non-linear regression software, was

used to fit published experimental data to different kinetic models and evaluate kinetic

parameters. The statistical results from POLYMATH were used for comparison of the

models and selection of the best fit model. The results obtained from the best fit kinetic

model were then used to analyze the trends and kinetic features related to methanol

synthesis. The study was primarily concentrated on the effect of reaction conditions on

the relative contribution of carbon monoxide and carbon dioxide in producing methanol.

The combined model that included both carbon monoxide and carbon dioxide hydrogenation rate terms was the best fit kinetic rate expression that described methanol synthesis kinetics most appropriately. A number of reaction conditions such as conversion, pressure, carbon monoxide to carbon dioxide ratio,and hydrogen content in the feed can have marked effects on the relative contribution of carbon monoxide and carbon dioxide in synthesizing methanol. Therefore, no generalizations can be made regarding the main carbon source in methanol.