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Chementator: Methane-to-gasoline process nears commercialization  

By Gerald Ondrey |

Synfuels International, Inc. (Dallas, Tex.; edlinks.chemengonline.com/7370-561) plans to commercialize its patented gas-to-liquids (GTL) process in Kuwait through a newly formed partnership with Kuwait’s Aref Energy Holding (edlinks.chemengonline.com/7370-562). In contrast with Fischer-Tropsch technology, the process produces a high-octane gasoline blend, rather than waxy paraffins for diesel fuel. Within two years, the partners expect to start up a plant to convert about 50-million scfd of gas to 3,800 – 4,000 bbl/d of gasoline-blend feedstock. Originally conceived at Texas A&M University (College Station, Tex.), the process (flowsheet) has been tested in a 100,000-ft3 /d demonstration plant since 2005. Natural gas is first converted to acetylene (plus some carbon monoxide, carbon dioxide and hydrogen) by direct-fired pyrolysis, fueled by recycled syngas and oxygen. Pyrolysis takes about one millisecond at temperatures up to 4,500°F. The acetylene is then dissolved in a standard commercial solvent and converted to ethylene by hydrogenation at around 100 – 300°F and 80 – 400 psi, over a proprietary catalyst. Finally, the ethylene is oligomerized, using a zeolite catalyst, to obtain a gasoline-blend…
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