A comprehensive study of kinetics mechanism of Fischer-Tropsch synthesis over cobalt-based catalyst

Nima Moazami, Miroslaw Wyszynski, Kiyarash Rahbar, Athanasios Tsolakis, Hamid Mahmoudi

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A comprehensive kinetics study of Fischer-Tropsch (FT) synthesis mechanism was investigated over an in-house 37% Co-based catalyst on a SiO2 support. A series of combined FT and water gas shift (WGS) reaction mechanisms were developed in order to calibrate the model at twelve different operating conditions. Two different approaches were used to develop a model for the FT synthesis reaction network. The first was based on an empirical approach; whereas the second approach explained the novel mechanistic details of FT kinetics. In the former, the rate equations were derived by power-law rate expressions, while in the latter the rate equations were derived by the Langmuir–Hinshelwood-Hougen-Watson (LHHW) rate theory. The limitations of powerlaw
rate model were highlighted for the applications that wider range of operating conditions has to be selected.
In contrast the advantages of LHHW for predicting a wider range of operating conditions were underlined. A comprehensive plausible mechanism-derived FT kinetics models with eight elementary reaction pathways along with seven WGS kinetics models were developed. Such reaction networks were investigated to fit and validate against the newly obtained experimental results which can be used as a key tool to emphasise the most significant facts of FT synthesis catalysis and chemistry. Model validation was carried out subsequent to completion of the model calibration and the estimation of proper kinetic parameters. The overall purpose of the validation study was to ensure that the model provides a robust and realistic assessment of all the parameters. In order to ensure model is precise to an appropriate level, the model was assessed against experimental data at four different operating conditions. The results obtained from kinetic study were compared to the most recent findings that have been reported in literature. It was shown that the novel developed kinetic model based on a
combination of alkyl/alkenyl mechanism for FT reactions (for production of n-paraffins and α-olefins) along with formate mechanism for WGS reaction can provide the most accurate predictions.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)32-60
JournalChemical Engineering Science
Early online date23 May 2017
Publication statusPublished - 2 Nov 2017


  • Fischer-Tropsch synthesis
  • Comprehensive kinetic modelling
  • Kinetics mechanism
  • Cobalt catalysts
  • Water gas shift reaction
  • Fixed-bed reactor


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