Chemistry World. Researchers at Peking University (PKU) in China have carried out the Fischer-Tropsch (FT) reaction in water for the first time.
Instead of using the classic approach of a metal catalyst (usually iron or cobalt) supported on carbon or silicon dioxide, the PKU team catalyzed the reaction in water using 2nm clusters of ruthenium, stabilized by PVP, a water-soluble polymer.
The unsupported catalyst is more active than conventional catalysts and so the reaction runs well at lower temperatures. The researchers saw a 35-fold increase in activity over supported catalysts at a standard operating temperature of 150°C, and a 16-fold increase at only 100°C.
Because the resulting hydrocarbons don’t mix with water, the product is uncontaminated by the catalyst.
Chao-xian Xiao, Zhi-peng Cai, Tao Wang, Yuan Kou, Ning Yan; “Aqueous-Phase Fischer-Tropsch Synthesis with a Ruthenium Nanocluster Catalyst”; Angew. Chem. Int. Ed., Published online 7 Dec 2007 doi: 10.1002/anie.200703481 Address : <>