Kinetic aspects of chain growth in Fischer–Tropsch synthesis
Microkinetics simulations are used to investigate the elementary reaction steps that control chain growth in the Fischer–Tropsch reaction. Chain growth in the FT reaction on stepped Ru surfaces proceeds via coupling of CH and CR surface intermediates. Essential to the growth mechanism are C–H dehydrogenation and C hydrogenation steps, whose kinetic consequences have been examined by formulating two novel kinetic concepts, the degree of chain-growth probability control and the thermodynamic degree of chain-growth probability control. For Ru the CO conversion rate is controlled by the removal of O atoms from the catalytic surface. The temperature of maximum CO conversion rate is higher than the temperature to obtain maximum chain-growth probability. Both maxima are determined by Sabatier behavior, but the steps that control chain-growth probability are different from those that control the overall rate. Below the optimum for obtaining long hydrocarbon chains, the reaction is limited by the high total surface coverage: in the absence of sufficient vacancies the CHCHR → CCHR + H reaction is slowed down. Beyond the optimum in chain-growth probability, CHCR + H → CHCHR and OH + H → H2O limit the chain-growth process. The thermodynamic degree of chain-growth probability control emphasizes the critical role of the H and free-site coverage and shows that at high temperature, chain depolymerization contributes to the decreased chain-growth probability. That is to say, during the FT reaction chain growth is much faster than chain depolymerization, which ensures high chain-growth probability. The chain-growth rate is also fast compared to chain-growth termination and the steps that control the overall CO conversion rate, which are O removal steps for Ru.