# How can a catalyst be selective if it does not change the equilibrium constants?

\begin{align} \ce{CO(g) + 3H2(g) &->[Ni] CH4(g) + H2O(g)}\\ \ce{CO(g) + 2H2(g) &->[Cu/ZnO-Cr2O3] CH3OH(g) }\\ \ce{CO(g) + H2(g) &->[Cu] HCHO(g) } \end{align}

As we see here, using different catalysts in the reaction between Carbon monoxide and hydrogen yields different products. Is this in contradiction to the following description of the properties of catalysts?

However, it is very important to keep in mind that the addition of a catalyst has no effect whatsoever on the final equilibrium position of the reaction. It simply gets it there faster.

https://courses.lumenlearning.com/introchem/chapter/the-effect-of-a-catalyst/

Adding a catalyst makes absolutely no difference to the position of equilibrium

https://chem.libretexts.org/Bookshelves/Physical_and_Theoretical_Chemistry_Textbook_Maps/Supplemental_Modules_(Physical_and_Theoretical_Chemistry)/Equilibria/Le_Chateliers_Principle/Le_Chatelier%27s_Principle_Fundamentals

If a catalyst is not supposed to affect the reaction's final equilibrium position how do we explain the catalyst selectivity seen here? I saw a similar question (Selectivity of catalysts) but it wasn't addressed directly at this principle (and unanswered still).

• The quotes you have quoted are in contradiction with the title. Catalysts do not affect the position of equilibrium, they accelerate the respective ( and possibly selected ) forward and backward reactions. Acceleration just some reactions ( in both ways) is not against any principle. Sep 16 at 13:32
• The question itself is probably not a bad one, but it needs a lot of work reformatting to make it more attractive. Sep 16 at 19:09