Opportunities for intensification of Fischer–Tropsch synthesis through reduced formation of methane over cobalt catalysts in microreactors
Due to the global growth in production of synthetic fuels via the Gas-to-Liquid (GTL), Coal-To-Liquid (CTL) and Biomass-To-Liquid (BTL) processes, academic and industrial interest in Fischer–Tropsch synthesis (FTS) research has increased during the past decade. The undesired product of FTS is methane and it is formed in amounts higher than expected according to the current understanding of the FTS mechanism. Therefore, it is important to gain better understanding of methane formation in order to optimize the FTS process. In this review we discuss the reasons responsible for higher than expected methane selectivity under FTS conditions over cobalt-based FTS catalysts and describe novel microreactors for use in FTS. These novel reactors could help improve reaction selectivity and yield, as well as offer significant economic benefits. Recommendations are given for intensification of FTS in terms of product selectivity by improved selection of catalysts, process conditions and reactor configurations.