The abundant supply of natural gas and the increasing reserves due to substantial shale gas discoveries are spurring much interest in gas-to-liquid (GTL) technologies that can provide various liquid transportation fuels. A primary GTL route involves the conversion of natural/shale gas to syngas which is subsequently converted to liquid fuels using the Fischer-Tropsch (FT) chemistry. The FT process is both energy and water intensive and has resulted in substantial efforts aimed at improving the design and operation of large-scale GTL facilities within the context of sustainability. Although the process technologies have been proven commercially, little is known about the heuristics involved in the selection, design, and operation of certain core process units. In specific, the choice of syngas production technology has been heavily debated based on various factors such as cost, hydrogen-to-carbon monoxide ratio, compatibility with the rest of the process through mass and energy integration, environmental impact, safety, reliability, and controllability. Despite the variety of these detailed issues, there exist macroscopic insights that can aid the engineer and or investor in the selection process. This work aims to highlight some of these insights as they pertain to heat and electrical energy as well as water and greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. Process design and simulation was done for three GTL processes using commercially demonstrated syngas technologies. Heat and mass integration techniques were used to benchmark the process and identify potential for reduced GHG footprint as well as power and water generation.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Chemical Engineering(all)
- Industrial and Manufacturing Engineering