Published December 2014
Ever since crude was first refined into petroleum fractions, governments, research organizations, and corporations have been searching for an economical method to convert natural gas, which is often stranded in remote locations, or copiously associated with produced oil, into liquid products. Many routes have been discovered to transform this gas or also shale gas into a product that is liquid at atmospheric conditions. All too often the processes proposed fail economically because they must handle great quantities of gas. Reactors, gas heat exchangers and compression require enormous equipment, and reaction thermodynamic requirements often cripple the value of the overall process unless designed at large refinery type scales capacities.
Small Scale Land Based GTL involves conversion of methane to high molecular weight hydrocarbons from LPG to waxy paraffins utilizing the principle of process intensification. The process itself consists mainly of three steps including syngas production through steam or autothermal reforming of natural gas, In this report, we investigate the use of microchannel Fischer-Tropsch synthesis designs with one or two stage reactor configurations using cobalt catalysts, followed by product upgrading though mild hydrocracking to convert high molecular weight waxes to LPG, naphtha, jet fuel, and diesel. This intensified process is a small scale hydrid that starts at the current complexity limit for parallel “numbering up” parallel microchannel reactor vessel designs, and calls for important system utilities like steam (and oxygen), high temperature heat transfer fluid systems, vacuum systems, wastewater treatment, and internal power generation.
This report highlights all major aspects of production of diesel, and/or aviation fuel as a liquid transportable product via Fischer-Tropsch synthesis. In addition to presenting our traditional techno-economic analyses we look at the current technology to produce transportation fuels from stranded or shale gas and compare the autothermal syngas generation and steam-methane reforming routes to produce synthesis gas, combined with single and dual stage Fischer-Tropsch synthesis configurations using Velocys microchannel reactor technology to convert synthesis gas to syncrude, Syncrude production is followed by product upgrading into a slate of fuel products including jet fuel and diesel.
Our snap-shop economic findings show that both routes for conversion of associated or shale gas using Velocys microchannel F-T technology followed by upgrading syncrude to transportation products are currently viable.