This paper comprises of a preliminary in-depth analysis of the techno-economic criteria for the Fischer-Tropsch synthesis (FTS) solvent selection. Both conventional media (i.e. gas phase FTS and liquid phase FTS) as well as non-conventional media (near-critical and supercritical phase FTS) were examined, with an emphasis on non-conventional media FTS for the design and commercialization of a novel FTS reactor technology.

Supercritical and near critical fluids (SCFs) are attractive for several reasons, highlighted by their ability to overcome some of the major limitations of current commercial technologies (e.g. transport limitations in the slurry reactor, and thermal limitations in multi-tubular reactors). Due to single phase operation of SCFs, these solvents are unique media for chemical reactions as they operate with densities that are sufficient to afford substantial dissolution power, while also providing diffusivities that are higher than normal liquids and viscosities that are lower than their liquid counterparts.

High temperature Fischer-Tropsch (HTFT) was the center of examinations, but LTFT was considered as well. A wide array of hydrocarbon solvents was reviewed, ranging from propane to decane, with numerous blends of two or more of the mentioned paraffins. Several fuel cuts were studied as well, such as light and heavy naphtha and diesel.

Understanding the transport and thermodynamic behavior as well as economic benefit of these said solvents is essential to the success of an advanced FTS reactor model. Also, the interaction of the solvents with in-situ reaction mixture and products further insures single-phase operation and feasibility.


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  1. N. Elbashir, E. Tora, E. Elmalik, M. El Halwagi, Potentials for commercialization of novel Fischer-Tropsch reactor technology, QFARF Proceedings, 2010, EEP5.
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