To produce ultra-clean, synthetic fuels from natural gas. The fuels, diesel, kerosene, naphtha and LPG contain no sulfur, aromatics or heavy metals. This process can be designed for onshore or offshore applications. Furthermore, it is self-sufficient in utilities and can be configured to export electricity.
The distinguishing characteristic of Syntroleum’s Fischer-Tropsch (FT) process is using air to produce synthesis gas. Air, natural gas and steam are mixed and react in a proprietary auto-thermal reformer (ATR) to produce synthesis gas with a H2:CO ratio of approximately 2:1. The synthesis gas is compressed and sent to the FT reactors. Using a proprietary cobalt catalyst, the carbon monoxide (CO) is hydrogenated into paraffinic, synthetic hydrocarbons. The catalysts yield an Anderson-Shultz-Fluory distribution with an alpha between 0.88 and 0.94, depending on the formulation.
Unreacted synthesis gas from the FT reactors is used as process fuel for turbines, heaters and other equipment. Both the ATR and the FT reactions generate byproduct heat and water, which are recovered and reused within the process.
The streams of synthetic crude are combined and refined into ultra-clean diesel, kerosene, naphtha and LPG. Compared to conventional crude oil, refining FT crude is less severe, i.e., lower H2 consumption, lower temperature and pressure, and longer catalyst life, due to the absence of sulfur, aromatics and heavy metals.
Operating conditions: Approximately 10,000 scf of gas produces one barrel of product. Plants can be economically designed for gas feedrates from 25 million scfd to 1,000 million scfd or more.
Economics: With the Syntroleum process, air is used in place of pure oxygen from an air-separation unit. Using air combined with the high-activity catalyst technology, this process can offer considerable capital and operating cost savings as compared to other competing processes.