The methanol-to-aromatics (MTA) process is regarded as a promising route to produce aromatic commodities through non-petroleum carbon resources, such as biomass, waste, coal, natural gas, and CO2. In contrast with the industrially implemented methanol-to-olefin (MTO) process, most MTA studies are still in the laboratory-scale stage. Recently, a few demonstration plants of MTA have been successfully launched, indicating the importance and the gradual industrial maturity of this technology. However, there are still many fundamental questions and technological challenges that must be addressed. In this Review, we summarize the recent advances in mechanistic understanding on the reaction and catalyst deactivation during MTA, elaborate the available strategies to improve the catalytic performance, and correlate MTA studies with other important catalytic aromatization processes. With this knowledge in hand, we share our views on future research directions in this field.
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