Simulation of a Typical and An Advanced Fischer Tropsch Reactor Technology

Wednesday, October 19, 2011
Exhibit Hall B (Minneapolis Convention Center)
Marwan Abbas1, Fadwa T. Eljack2, Elfatih E. Elmalik3, Aswani K. Mogalicherla3 and Nimir O. Elbashir4, (1)Chemical Engineering, Qatar University, Doha, Qatar, (2)Department of Chemical Engineering, Qatar University, Doha, Qatar, (3)Chemical Engineering Program, Texas A&M University at Qatar, Doha, Qatar, (4)Texas A&M University - Qatar, Doha, Qatar

Simulation of a Typical and an Advanced Fischer Tropsch Reactor Technology

Marwan Abbas1, Fadwa T. El jack1, Aswani Mogalicherla2, Elfatih Elmalik2 and Nimir O. Elbashir2

(1)Department of Chemical Engineering , Qatar University, Doha, Qatar

(2)Chemical Engineer Department, Texas A&M, Doha, Qatar

10A – 00     Systems & Process Design

During the past twenty years, tremendous investments from the major players in the energy market have been directed towards Gas to Liquid (GTL) technology. The advantage of GTL technology in energy production is that it furnishes a broad range of environmentally clean fuels, additives and value-added. While the GTL market continues to grow, there are still many hurdles to overcome in order to optimize the use of this important technology – all of which are related to technology limitations. Our proposed project is focused on the design of advanced Fischer-Tropsch synthesis (FTS) reactor technology to facilitate operating the reaction on both conventional media (gas phase) and non-conventional media (supercritical phase). The latter assumed to provide unique reaction medium to leverage certain advantages over the current commercial technologies (slurry reactor and multi-tubular reactor) and at the same time overcome their limitations1

The main aim of this study is to develop simulation models of Fischer Tropsch Synthesis (FTS) reactor technology.  The approach to design this novel reactor technology has been described in a previous study [2]. The modeled reactor configurations operating at gas phase , slurry phase , near and super critical phase conditions (SCF) will be compared to existing FTS commercial reactors (Fixed Bed Reactors , Shell Bintulu Plant in Malaysia) and experimental reactors (Supercritical , Roberts and Elbashir [1]). Simulating FTS reactors have always been a challenge. This due to their abnormal chemistry behavior that led available design tools to not best represent the FT and SCF-FT reactions. The main reactor design focus will be on SCF-FT. SCF-FT has been strongly considered to yield better fuel products. The SCF media used has the capability of improving the diffusivity (gas like) and heat transfer (liquid like) [3]. Our study will be consisting of two phases. Phase one will mainly focus on using the existing academia tools such as (ASPEN Plus ) to model different FT reactors and then compare it to available commercial and experimental results. This will help conclude the advantages and the disadvantages of the existing solutions used to model the FT reactors. The second phase will be focusing on creating our own FT and SCF-FT reactor model configuration and compare it to the experimental results. This step will be achieved using other available tools such as (ASPEN Simulation Workbook (ASW) and Computational Fluid Dynamics model (CFD)). Our final results of the reactor design is to closely follow the results of SCF-FT reactors previously reported .The study will also examine the economic aspect of SCF-FT reactors to account for the additional cost accompanied with the use of technology.


[1]. Elbashir N. O., Bukur D. B., Durham E., Roberts C. B. (2010) "Advancement in Fischer-Tropsch Synthesis via Utilization of Supercritical Fluids as Reaction Media" AIChE J; 56 (4) 997-1015.

[2]. Elbashir, N. O., and Eljack, F.T. (2010) "Models for Designing Advanced Fischer Tropsch Reactor Technology" Proceedings of the 2nd Annual Gas Processing Symposium; Elsevier.

[3]  Bao B., El-Halwagi M. M., Elbashir, N. O. (2010) "Simulation, Integration, and Economic Analysis of Gas-to-Liquid Processes" Fuel Proc. Techn.; in press.

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