The Fischer–Tropsch (FT) synthesis is used to produce chemicals, gasoline and diesel fuel. The FT products are predominantly linear, hence the quality of the diesel fuel is very high, having cetane numbers of up to 75. Since purified synthesis gas is used in the FT process all the products are S- and N-free. In this review the production of syngas and the various options used in the FT process (reactors and catalyst types, and high and low temperature operation) are discussed. The best FT option for producing high quality diesel is using cobalt-based catalyst in slurry phase reactor, gearing the process for high wax production and then selectively hydrocracking the wax to diesel fuel. The overall diesel pool has a high cetane number, the aromatic S and N contents are zero and the exhaust emissions are significantly lower than for standard diesel fuels.
© 2001 Society of Chemical Industry