The products of the Fischer-Tropsch (FT) process (the central step of gas-to-liquids or biomass-to-liquids) can be used to produce ultra-clean fuels, high quality lubricants and other valuable products.
FT waxes are a very good feedstock for the production of high quality lubricants and other valuable hydrocarbon products. Base oils derived from FT waxes are considered as a special "Group III+" category, important for the blending of modern lubricants and commanding the highest value. The purity and consistency of FT waxes is highly desired in downstream processes, such as the production of cosmetics, pharmaceuticals and adhesives.
The market for waxes in the US and worldwide continues to undergo structural changes, decreasing supply and decoupling pricing from the oil price, making a smaller scale GTL plant targeted at producing waxes an attractive proposition. Velocys is the company that is best placed to take advantage of this opportunity. Our technology is best-in-class in terms of yield of long chain hydrocarbons, which form the basis of high value speciality products, thereby maximising project revenues.
With the demand for gasoline shrinking and demand for diesel increasing, gas-to-liquids (GTL) will provide the 'sweet spot' products that the refining industry will need more of in the future.
FT products are highly paraffinic and do not contain aromatics or sulphur. FT fuels burn cleaner than petroleum-derived diesel and jet fuels, resulting in lower emissions of NOx, SOx and particulates. Use of high-purity FT diesel also reduces engine noise and reduces wear and tear on vital engine components.
FT fuels are fully compatible with existing infrastructure and engines, which is not the case for other methods of natural gas monetisation (LNG and CNG) or other methods of producing fuels from biomass (such as ethanol or fatty acid esters).
FT fuels are often blended to instil their high performance characteristics to a larger pool of fuel. For example, FT diesel has a high cetane number (≥70 compared with a 45 – 55 rating of most refinery diesels) and therefore can be used to upgrade lower quality petroleum-derived diesel. The benefits of FT fuels have been recognised by major consumers, including the US Air Force, which has tested and certified a 50/50 mix of FT jet fuel for many of its aircraft.