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New Fischer-Tropsch reactor configuration to optimize gasoline production

A team from Shiraz University in Iran is proposing a novel reactor configuration for Fischer-Tropsch synthesis (FTS) that utilizes a fixed-bed water perm-selective membrane reactor followed by a fluidized-bed hydrogen perm-selective membrane reactor. The concept (FMFMDR) produces gasoline from synthesis gas.

The walls of the tubes of a fixed-bed reactor (water-cooled reactor) in a FMFMDR configuration are coated by a high water perm-selective membrane layer. In this configuration, two membrane reactors instead of one membrane reactor are developed for FTS reactions.

The researchers used a one-dimensional heterogeneous model to investigate the performance of FMFMDR. A paper on their work is in press in the journal Energy.

The simulation results of three schemes named fluidized-bed membrane dual-type reactor (FMDR), FMFMDR and conventional fixed-bed reactor (CR) are presented. They have been compared in terms of temperature, gasoline and CO2 yields, H2 and CO conversions and the water permeation rate through the membrane layer. Results show that the gasoline yield in FMFMDR is higher than the one in FMDR. The FMFMDR configuration not only decreases the undesired product such as CO2 but also produces more gasoline.

—Rahimpour et al.


  • M.R. Rahimpour, A. Mirvakili, K. Paymooni, A novel water perm-selective membrane dual-type reactor concept for Fischer-Tropsch synthesis of GTL (gas to liquid) technology, Energy, In Press, Corrected Proof, Available online 24 December 2010, doi: 10.1016/



Iran has cars running on natural gas because they do not have refinery capacity. If they can turn natural gas into synthetic gasoline, they do not have to modify the cars.


It would be very wise for Iran to refine their crude themselves : First extract the high-value fuels, and then reform the tar and other leftovers to more fuels. The CO2 produced in the reform process can be injected for increased crude recovery.

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