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Chapter 5

The Fischer–Tropsch Process

Fischer–Tropsch technology has found industrial application since 1938 in Germany where a total of nine plants were constructed and produced a combined total 660 000 tons yr-1 of synthetic hydrocarbons. However the history of the Fischer–Tropsch technology dates back to over a century. The process for producing synthesis gas can be described as comprising three components (1) synthesis gas generation, (2) waste heat recovery, and (3) gas processing. Within each of the above three listed systems are several options. For example, synthesis gas can be generated to yield a range of compositions ranging from high-purity hydrogen to high-purity carbon monoxide. Two major routes can be utilized for high purity gas production: (1) pressure swing adsorption and (2) utilization of a cold box, where separation is achieved by distillation at low temperatures. In fact, both processes can also be used in combination as well. Unfortunately, both processes require high capital expenditure. This chapter discusses the manner in which these concerns have been and are being addressed and how research and development is ongoing with successes being measured by the demonstration and commercialization of technologies such as permeable membrane for the generation of high-purity hydrogen, which in itself can be used to adjust the H2/CO ratio of the synthesis gas produced.

Print publication date: 18 Jul 2011
Copyright year: 2011
Print ISBN: 978-1-84973-026-6
PDF eISBN: 978-1-84973-102-7
Citation: