The properties of silver in the oxidative dehydrogenation of methanol were studied in a flow reactor under near industrial conditions. The influences of temperature, concentration of both reactants, gas velocity, space velocity, the form of the silver catalyst and surface composition of the catalyst were studied. A model for the reaction is proposed which is based on the experimental observations and on the nature of the interaction of silver with oxygen. It issuggested that different oxygen species on the silver surface play different roles in the reactions to CO, CO2 and H2CO. Gas phase reactions only contribute to the conversion to CO.