Computer simulation of a plug flow reactor for cobalt catalyzed Fischer Tropsch synthesis using a microkinetic model


Yin Jing

Date of Award


Degree Name

M.S. in Chemical Engineering


Department of Chemical and Materials Engineering


Advisor: Amy R. Ciric


With the rising demand for more energy and limited availability of depleting crude oil reserves, it is increasingly important to look for alternatives to classic petroleum production. Fischer-Tropsch synthesis is recognized as a very promising process to convert natural gas, coal and biomass into liquid fuel, which can reduce the dependence on fossil fuel. In order to give more reliable data about catalyst selectivity and yield before bulk production, this research is going to simulate a plug flow reactor used for Fischer-Tropsch synthesis. While these reactors have been simulated before, this research will be the first to combine models of (a) the microkinetics on the catalyst surface, (b) diffusion into and out of the catalyst pore and (c) macroscopic composition profile along the reactor. The method adopted in this research is a combination of numerical techniques, such as Runge-Kutta Method, Shooting Method and Secant Method. The resulting simulation package will offer insights into catalyst design and provide more reliable information on catalyst selectivity and product yield over a wide range of process parameters.


Fischer-Tropsch process Simulation methods, Cobalt catalysts Properties Simulation methods, Chemical reactors Simulation methods, Chemical engineering; Fischer-Tropsch synthesis; kinetics mechanism; cobalt catalysts; H-assisted CO dissociation; simulation

Rights Statement

Copyright 2012, author