In recent years, some FT technology developers have proposed the best path to an all liquid FT product is to use a low alpha FT catalyst in an attempt to eliminate the formation of wax molecules and therefore eliminate the need for a hydrocracking function. Others have proposed combining the FT reaction and the hydrocracking reaction all in the same reactor. Emerging Fuels Technology ("EFT") believes that the most cost effective approach, in terms of overall plant cost per barrel of marketable liquid produced, is through a very high alpha FT catalyst combined with hydrocracking/hydro-isomerization. This paper will explore "pros and cons" of these 3 options using publicly available data.
First, an explanation of Alpha
The FT reaction is a polymerization of carbon monoxide and hydrogen with a distribution that can be described with a single polymerization constant commonly referred to as Anderson Schultz Flory alpha, or just "alpha" which satisfies the relationship
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