Companies can collaborate with Synfuels Americas on research and development to improve the performance of technologies and lower costs for manufacturing.
Synfuels Americas’ parent company, Synfuels China, helped with the design and licensed their technologies to one of the world’s largest commercial CTL plants at 100,000 barrels per day of liquid products produced, which will be commissioned in 2016. A 25,000 barrels per day CTL plant will also be commissioned in 2016 using Synfuels China's technologies. Both plants will produce low-sulfur diesel. Synfuels China has also served as the EPC for three successful prototype CTL plants using their proprietary technology. All technology is developed in-house starting from fundamental laboratory research, with more than 80 patents filed.
Research and development on theoretical and fundamental issues impacting conversion processes is led by the R&D branch of our parent company. All technological services provided by Synfuels Americas are originally developed from fundamental research, tested at the pilot scale, and then expanded to commercial-scale technology.
Access to cutting-edge research and basic catalytic mechanisms for Fischer-Tropsch synthesis processes. Key areas of basic research include:
General technology and plant process simulation and modeling research is critical for developing technology at the frontier of the energy conversion industry.
Key areas for research in simulation and modeling include:
Thorough research is conducted related to a wide range of Fischer-Tropsch synthesis and product refining processes.
Key areas of specific process-based research include:
The spread of products produced via Fischer-Tropsch synthesis is influenced by many variables: temperature, feed gas composition, pressure, catalyst type and promoters. Known metals for Fischer-Tropsch catalysis are iron, cobalt, ruthenium, and nickel. Ruthenium has reserves too low for commercial applications and as a result is expensive. Nickel is good for methanation and methane reforming, but iron and cobalt catalysts are the focus of most research for improving catalysts for Fischer-Tropsch synthesis reactions.
Critical objectives for creating more efficient catalysts are improving the useful life, activity and stability of the catalyst so that it may be reused with minimal additional catalyst input. Other general requirements for improving catalysts are high selectivity for desirable products (e.g., low methane and high C5+) and mechanical robustness (e.g., the optimal particle size and density).
Iron-based catalysts produce more olefins and oxygenates than cobalt-based catalysts. Iron is also considered more versatile with regards to determining the H2/CO ratio, operational temperatures, pressures and product selectivity. Iron-based Fischer-Tropsch synthesis is able to produce light hydrocarbons for the fuel and chemical industry and heavier hydrocarbons (C35+) for the wax market. Compared to the other metals suitable for Fischer-Tropsch synthesis reactions, iron is a cheap raw material and is on average 250 times less expensive than cobalt. While iron is believed to be more tolerant of poisoning (e.g., sulfur in the synthesis gas), the disadvantage is the iron catalyst can deactivate quickly requiring additional catalyst input.
Synfuels China’s carefully structured iron catalyst (named SynFT-I) for its medium temperature (275°C) slurry-bed Fischer-Tropsch synthesis process has record-breaking hydrocarbon productivity and very low methane selectivity (less than 3% by weight). These iron-based catalysts have high activity and high selectivity for C5+, greater than 92% and frequently more than 96%. The catalyst is easily separated from any waxes and is able to produce 1,200 tons of high quality C3+ products per ton of catalyst utilized. The highly active nature of SynFT-I lowers the required solid catalyst charge in the slurry-bed reactor. Productivity is high at 1.00 - 1.40 grams product per gram of catalyst per hour. The proprietary Fischer-Tropsch process has a high oil production capability of 7,000 – 10,000 barrels of oil per barrel of catalyst. Superior byproducts include high quality synthetic crudes with very low oxygenates, especially acids. The iron-based catalyst used in the medium temperature slurry-bed Fischer-Tropsch synthesis process has high attrition resistance and is easy to integrate with both coal and gas processes.