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Keywords:

  • biomass;
  • carbon dioxide;
  • iron;
  • supported catalysts;
  • zeolites

Abstract

The continuous increase in oil prices together with an increase in carbon dioxide concentration in the atmosphere has prompted an increased interest in the production of liquid fuels from non-petroleum sources to ensure the continuation of our worldwide demands while maximizing CO2 utilization. In this sense, the Fischer–Tropsch (FT) technology provides a feasible option to render high value-added hydrocarbons. Alternative sources, such as biomass or coal, offer a real possibility to realize these purposes by making use of H2-deficient or CO2-rich syngas feeds. The management of such feeds ideally relies on the use of iron catalysts, which exhibit the unique ability to adjust the H2/CO molar ratio to an optimum value for hydrocarbon synthesis through the water-gas-shift reaction. Taking advantage of the emerging attention to hybrid FT-synthesis catalysts based on cobalt and their associated benefits, an overview of the current state of literature in the field of iron-based multifunctional catalysts is presented. Of particular interest is the use of zeolites in combination with a FT catalyst in a one-stage operation, herein named multifunctional, which offer key opportunities in the modification of desired product distributions and selectivity, to eventually overcome the quality limitations of the fuels prepared under intrinsic FT conditions. This review focuses on promising research activities addressing the conversion of syngas to liquid fuels mediated by iron-based multifunctional materials, highlights their preparation and properties, and discusses their implication and challenges in the area of carbon utilization through H2/CO(+CO2) mixtures.