Catalysis Today, Vol.343, 146-155, 2020
Pore diffusion effects on catalyst effectiveness and selectivity of cobalt based Fischer-Tropsch catalyst
In this study we investigate performance characteristics (catalyst effectiveness, CH4 selectivity, and hydrocarbon product distribution) of with a highly active Co/Re/Al(2)O(3 )catalyst particle for Fischer-Tropsch synthesis. In numerical simulations we utilize kinetic parameters for CO consumption rate, CH4 formation rate and hydrocarbon formation rates (C-2+ hydrocarbons) determined from experiments with this catalyst to study effects of catalyst activity, catalyst particle shape (sphere, slab, solid and hollow cylinder), size (i.e. diffusion length), catalyst distribution (uniform vs. eggshell type distribution for a spherical particle) and process conditions (temperature, pressure, syngas composition and conversion level) on the catalyst performance. With increase in Thiele modulus (i.e. particle size at a fixed set of process conditions) we observe increasing H-2/CO ratio profile towards the center of the particle resulting in increase of local and average CH4 selectivity. The goal is to find conditions which allow one to use sufficiently large particles to reduce pressure drop, while avoiding negative influence of diffusional limitations on selectivity and activity. For each catalyst particle shape we determined values of Thiele modulus, i.e. characteristic length of diffusion, corresponding to the upper limit of the kinetic region, and investigated how it changes with operating conditions. We found that simultaneous increase of pressure and the use of syngas with H-2/CO feed ratio of 1.4-1.7 is the best strategy for mitigating the negative impact of intraparticle diffusional limitations on CH4 selectivity. For a spherical particle of 1 mm in diameter, one can achieve CH4 selectivity of 5.6% with catalyst effectiveness factor of 1.07 at the reactor inlet by operating at 50 bar, 473 K and H-2/CO = 1.4.