Fischer-Tropsch synthesis: Higher oxygenate selectivity of cobalt catalysts supported on hydrothermal carbons

Uschi M. Graham, Gary Jacobs, Muthu K. Gnanamani, Stephen M. Lipka, Wilson D. Shafer, Christopher R. Swartz, Thani Jermwongratanachai, Rong Chen, Fon Rogers, Burtron H. Davis

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

31 Scopus citations


The performance of carbon-supported cobalt catalysts was compared with that of Co/γ-Al2O3 reference catalysts for the Fischer-Tropsch synthesis (FTS) reaction. The carbon support (CS) was prepared using a hydrothermal method that formed mostly spherical ∼300-800 nm carbons that were first carbonized at 900 °C and then partially graphitized at 1900 °C. The FTS study was conducted using a continuously stirred tank reactor, and the cobalt catalysts were promoted with Pt (0.2% Pt-10% Co) to facilitate the reduction of cobalt oxides. Catalysts were prepared by an evaporative method (Co/CS-IWI) and by a chemical vapor deposition technique (Co/CS-CVD). The CVD technique led to a higher CO conversion (26.5%) relative to the conventional evaporative (IWI) method (7.4%) at the same temperature (220 °C) and space velocity (1.5 NL/gcath). Remarkably, the Co/CS-CVD displayed a high oxygenate selectivity (∼10%) in comparison with cobalt alumina catalysts (i.e., including one having similar Pt and Co loadings, as well as a conventional cobalt alumina catalyst with a higher Co loading of 25% Co) at similar conversion levels. The difference in the CO conversion on a per gram catalyst basis observed between Co/CS-IWI and Co/CS-CVD catalysts was due to the smaller average Co particle size and more uniform distribution resulting from the CVD method.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1662-1672
Number of pages11
JournalACS Catalysis
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 6 2014


  • carbon spheres
  • chemical vapor deposition
  • cobalt
  • Fischer-Tropsch synthesis
  • HR-TEM
  • hydrothermal process
  • oxygenates
  • X-ray absorption spectroscopy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Catalysis
  • Chemistry (all)


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