Syngas generation

There are a number of methods of producing synthesis gas (the input of the Fischer-Tropsch (FT) process). The method chosen depends on the feedstock to be used and the location of the proposed plant.

Gas-to-liquids (GTL)

The following methods of syngas production can be used for a GTL plant.

  • Steam methane reforming (SMR); natural gas is mixed with steam and passed over a catalyst to produce a synthesis gas. The reaction is highly endothermic, so requires the input of heat. This can be generated by the combustion of methane or excess hydrogen.
  • Autothermal reforming (ATR); oxygen rather than steam is used as the oxidant to produce the syngas. The reaction takes place in a chamber where the methane is partially oxidised.

Onshore GTL projects incorporating Velocys FT technology typically plan to use the ATR method of syngas generation. Offshore, ATR cannot be used and Velocys and its partners will develop a unique integrated solution for remote deep-water applications where no other economical means of disposing associated gas exists.

Biomass-to-liquids (BTL)

If woody biomass or municipal solid waste is to be used as feedstock for a biomass-to-liquids plant, syngas generation is carried out using a gasifier.

Gasification is a process that converts carbon-containing materials into carbon monoxide, hydrogen and carbon dioxide. This is achieved by reacting the material at high temperatures (>700 °C), without combustion, with a controlled amount of oxygen and/or steam.


SMR at the Velocys Pilot Plant


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