Scientific challenges in SynGas conversion: FT — early 20th Century Technology Re-invented for the 21st Century

2011 Spring Symposium

John L. Cas­ci
John­son Matthey

Abstract — Feed­stocks for Chem­i­cals and Fuels are chang­ing, with an increas­ing empha­sis on coal and bio-mass along­side the move to heav­ier, and dirt­i­er, sources of oil. One tech­nol­o­gy plat­form that cuts across these diverse feed­stocks is based on Syn­the­sis Gas (Syn­Gas). Each feed­stock, how­ev­er, pos­es spe­cif­ic chal­lenges: chal­lenges that occur across the flow-sheet par­tic­u­lar­ly in purifi­ca­tion and Syn­Gas gen­er­a­tion. The glob­al oper­at­ing envi­ron­ment requires new tech­nolo­gies to be robust and cap­i­tal inten­sive while increas­ing the aware­ness of, and empha­sis on, sus­tain­abil­i­ty requir­ing inno­v­a­tive solu­tions to min­i­mize emis­sions of green­house gas­es. The pro­duc­tion of liq­uid hydro­car­bons from Syn­Gas is com­mon­ly referred to by
the names of the inven­tors, Fis­ch­er and Trop­sch, and hence as Fis­ch­er-Trop­sch (FT) catal­y­sis. FT tech­nol­o­gy dates back to the ear­ly 20th cen­tu­ry but is being “re-invent­ed” for 21st cen­tu­ry needs and mar­kets.

This pre­sen­ta­tion will pro­vide a brief overview of key tech­nolo­gies across the Syn­Gas flow­sheet: cat­a­lysts and process and the require­ment to inte­grate. Fis­ch­er- Trop­sch catal­y­sis will be high­light­ed and a his­toric per­spec­tive pre­sent­ed. Final­ly, using exam­ples from our own lab­o­ra­to­ries, the key role of advanced char­ac­ter­i­za­tion, and diag­nos­tic tools, in the elu­ci­da­tion of cat­a­lyst struc­ture across the length scales will be high­light­ed.

Speaker’s Biog­ra­phy – John Cas­ci is cur­rent­ly the Tech­nol­o­gy Man­ag­er at the John­son Matthey Tech­nol­o­gy Cen­tre at Chilton man­ag­ing Cat­a­lyst Research, Man­u­fac­tur­ing Sci­ence, Cat­a­lyst Engi­neer­ing and Zeo­lite teams. From 2002–2006, John was the Catal­y­sis R&D Direc­tor at Chilton focused on Fis­ch­er-Trop­sch cat­a­lysts. Pri­or to 2002, John had mul­ti­ple roles in ICI focus­ing on cat­a­lyst and zeo­lite research, devel­op­ment and scale­up.