The results of activity studies of four catalysts in methanol synthesis have been presented. A standard industrial catalyst TMC-3/1 was compared with two methanol catalysts promoted by the addition of magnesium and one promoted by zirconium. The kinetic analysis of the experimental results shows that the Cu/Zn/Al/Mg/1 catalyst was the least active. Although TMC-3/1 and Cu/Zn/Al/Mg/2 catalysts were characterised by a higher activity, the most active catalyst system was Cu/Zn/Al/Zr. The activity calculated for zirconium doped catalyst under operating conditions was approximately 30% higher that of TMC-3/1catalyst. The experimental data were used to identify the rate equations of two types - one purely empirical power rate equation and the other one - the Vanden Bussche & Froment kinetic model of methanol synthesis. The Cu/ZnO/Al2O3 catalyst modified with zirconium has the highest application potential in methanol synthesis.