Development of syngas and Fischer Tropsch technology
There is continued interest in the conversion of coal or natural gas into synthetic fuels as a route to a clean and secure source of energy. These gas to liquids (GTL) and coal to liquids (CTL) technologies represent multi stage catalytic processes which will operate on both large world scale plants as well as smaller scale plants using synthesis gas from biomass or methane sources as feedstocks. Key processes include syngas generation from coal or gas and Fischer Tropsch synthesis to catalytically convert hydrogen and carbon monoxide into fuels.
The catalysts, reactor designs and process technologies required align strongly with the underlying science in Johnson Matthey’s Process Technologies business and we are engaged in a number of different projects in this field.
Our dedicated Manufacturing Science Centre (MSC) in Billingham, UK provides us with an invaluable scale up link between laboratory based catalyst research and full scale production allowing us to optimise our manufacturing processes. The MSC has been involved with customer projects to develop Fischer Tropsch catalysts for a variety of scales, reactors and feedstocks, manufacturing pilot scale quantities for testing at customers’ sites.
Optimising catalyst performance and process technology in combination will be crucial to the commercial viability of large scale CTL and GTL plants. We are drawing on the synergies between our catalyst and process technology R&D activities to develop superior performance solutions for the production of synthetic fuels.