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Production of higher alcohols from synthesis gas

: Schaller, Max; Reichelt, Erik; Männel, Dorothea; Jahn, Matthias

Ernst, S. ; Deutsche Wissenschaftliche Gesellschaft für Erdöl, Erdgas und Kohle, Fachbereich Petrochemie; Deutsche Gesellschaft für Mineralölwissenschaft und Kohlechemie e.V. -DGMK-, Hamburg:
DGMK-Conference "Synthesis Gas Chemistry" 2015. Preprints : October 7 - 9, 2015, Dresden, Germany; (Authors' manuscripts)
Hamburg: DGMK, 2015 (Deutsche Wissenschaftliche Gesellschaft für Erdöl, Erdgas und Kohle. Tagungsbericht 2015, 2)
ISBN: 978-3-941721-56-2
Conference "Synthesis Gas Chemistry" <2015, Dresden>
Conference Paper
Fraunhofer IKTS ()

The production of chemicals from synthesis gas via Fischer-Tropsch reaction has gained increasing interest within the last decades. The products are promising alternatives to crude oil as feedstock for various hydrocarbons, alcohols and other oxygenates. Most often the focus was laid on the production of synthetic fuels because of their high economic and technological relevance. In contrast the possibility to produce higher alcohols via Fischer-Tropsch synthesis has attracted much less attention. The valuable oxygenated products can be used as building blocks for bulk and fine chemicals. Furthermore they are interesting as additives for renewable liquid fuels as classical Fischer-Tropsch based synthetic fuels mainly consist of saturated hydrocarbons. The addition of oxygenates reduces emissions and boosts octane number. The possibility to use cheap iron-based catalysts makes this synthesis route particularly interesting for sustainable production of synthetic fuels. Results on the selectivity of promoted iron catalysts will be presented and the influence of promoters and process conditions on alcohol yields will be discussed. It can be shown that alcohol selectivity is highest at low temperatures (< 200 °C) and pressures (4-20 bar), conditions that are favorable for industrial application. Advantageous for the alcohol selectivity is a low H2/CO ratio, as it is typical for synthesis gases from renewable feedstocks (e.g. biomass gasification or biogas reforming) as well as for synthesis gas from dry reforming of hydrocarbons. Based on experimental results and process simulation a process scheme for the synthesis of higher alcohols from synthesis gas will be presented.