Basic Studies for the Production and Upgrading of Fischer-Tropsch Synthesis Products to Fuels

  • Davis, Burtron (PI)
  • Jacobs, Gary (CoI)

Grants and Contracts Details


Fischer- Tropsch synthesis (FTS) provides an alternative source of aviation jet fuel that is thermally stable, clean burning with no sulfur emissions, and low soot formation. Although Fischer-Tropsch (FT) process has been in practice since WWII, there remain significant opportunities for technology advancement. Today, the state of art FTS reactor configuration is a slurry bubble column reactor where high productivity is achieved with low upfront capital. Our research proposal addresses critical areas for future advancement ofFT jet fuel in aviation: 1. FT Synthesis Kinetics: Isothermal slurry reactor synthesis will be developed to predict carbon conversion as a function of catalyst compositions, catalyst support medium, feed H2/CO ratios, and space velocities. Kinetics for both cobalt and iron catalysts will be studied. Co-based catalysts at 15% wt and 26% will be formulated with three different supports: silica, alumina, and titania. The kinetic effects of Pt promotor to cobalt catalysts will be determined also for each support. Kinetics for two different iron-based FT catalyst will be studied. 2. FT Product Upgrade: Bulk ofFT reactor product is in the form of wax, a solid material in room temperature. Further product upgrade is needed to convert the reactor wax to usable transportation fuels such as gasoline, jet fuel and diesel. We intend to convert FT reactor wax from three different catalytic sources (i.e., cobalt, iron, and hydrogenated iron) with commercially available hydrocracking catalysts covering a wide range of acidity. The emphasis will be placed on defining the catalyst and process conditions that maximizes jet fuel and diesel range products (Cl2-CIS) while minimizing gasoline products. This study will also help define the iso/normal paraffin ratio of the products. 3. FT Catalyst Separation from Wax: Up to six different filtration options will be evaluated in a pilot scale test facility. A viable filtration design would allow use of low-cost iron catalyst in slurry bubble column. 4. FT Jet Fuel/Jet-A Combustion Characterization: Neat FT jet fuel and Jet-A, and blends will be used to determine fuel atomization and combustion characteristics at near atmospheric pressure and elevated 400 psig operating environment. The preferred fuel composition for optimum combustion performance will be determined. Physical properties per ASTM D-1655 will be quantified for all fuels and blends. 5. Build-up of NASA FTS Research Capability: CAER at the University of Kentucky and University of Toledo will assist NASA GRC to operate a state of art FTS catalyst evaluation facility. Technical know-how from CAER will be incorporated in the new NASA facility. University staff will assist in operation of the FTS reactor to validate the new facility's capability by running a base catalyst produced under prior DOE contract by CAER.
Effective start/end date1/17/074/15/11


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