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Novel Catalysts Promote Industrial Production of Clean Liquid Fuels from Syngas

Editor: CHEN Na | May 20, 2022

China is rich in coal resources but has comparatively limited crude oil and natural gas. Therefore, conversion of coal to clean liquid fuels, which are mainly synthesized by crude oil, has received much attention in China.

A research group led by Prof. DING Yunjie and Prof. ZHU Hejun from the Dalian Institute of Chemical Physics (DICP) of the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS) and their collaborators developed the activated carbon-supported Co catalysts to produce clean liquid fuels from syngas with high selectivity. Using these catalysts, they have realized industrially synthesis of 150 kt/a of clean liquid fuels from syngas derived from coal in slurry-bed reactors in Yulin, China.

The catalyst test showed that at the industrial facility's full load, the syngas' total conversion exceeded 98%, the selectivity of methane was less than 7%, and that of C3+ hydrocarbons/oxygenates exceeded 92%.

Fischer-Tropsch synthesis (FTS) is the most versatile process for converting syngas into various chemical products. Traditionally Co-based catalysts have poor selectivity of liquid which hinders their industrial applications.

The newly-developed Co-based catalysts were supported by carbon materials, leading to a high FTS activity, high C3+ selectivity, and good stability. Moreover, the catalysts could be recycled by the combustion method with no solid wastes.

"The direct conversion of syngas into clean liquid fuels using carbon material supported by a Co-based catalyst can be accomplished at an industrial scale in China, thereby creating more opportunities for clean and efficient use of coal resources," said Prof. DING.

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The industrial facility of 150 kt/a of clean liquid fuels from syngas (Image by ZHAO Zi'ang)
Novel Catalysts Promote Industrial Production of Clean Liquid Fuels from Syngas----Chinese Academy of Sciences
 

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China creates world's first coal-to-ethanol production line
By Zhang Zhihao | chinadaily.com.cn | Updated: 2017-03-17 16:06

China has successfully created the world's first production line to turn coal into ethanol, or drinking alcohol, the Chinese Academy of Sciences said on Friday.

Created by Shaanxi Yanchang Petroleum and the academy's Dalian Institute of Chemical Physics in Liaoning province, the production line went into operation in January and has the capacity to make more than 100,000 metric tons of pure ethanol every year, according to Liu Zhongmin, the institute's deputy director.

By 2020, China will build a factory capable of producing 1 million tons of ethanol each year using the same technology, he said.

The country currently produces 7 million tons of ethanol each year using other methods, which can "hardly satisfy" its industrial and energy needs, according to Liu.

"Most countries produce ethanol using food, such as corn or sugar cane, but this is not a viable option for China given its massive population," he said.

"By turning China's abundant coal resources into ethanol, the technology will help safeguard our energy and food security,"

Moreover, ethanol is a green fuel and versatile ingredient. "Utilizing it could reduce our dependency on fossil fuels, and make our industrial production and energy structure more environmental friendly," Liu said.

In addition to alcoholic beverages, ethanol can be used to produce thousands of everyday products from plastics to detergents. It can also replace more toxic ingredients, such as methanol, during industrial production.

Other uses include mixing it with petroleum to increase its fuel efficiency and reduce pollution. An abundant supply of ethanol would also make ethanol-fueled vehicles more viable, Liu said.
 

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