Is the fischer-tropsch conversion of biogas-derived syngas to liquid fuels feasible at atmospheric pressure?

Rawan Hakawati, Beatrice Smyth, Helen Daly, Geoffrey McCullough, David Rooney

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Biogas resulting from anaerobic digestion can be utilized for the production of liquid fuels via reforming to syngas followed by the Fischer-Tropsch reaction. Renewable liquid fuels are highly desirable due to their potential for use in existing infrastructure, but current Fischer-Tropsch processes, which require operating pressures of 2 4 MPa (20 40 bar), are unsuitable for the relatively small scale of typical biogas production facilities in the EU, which are agriculture-based. This paper investigates the feasibility of producing liquid fuels from biogas-derived syngas at atmospheric pressure, with a focus on the system's response to various interruption factors, such as total loss of feed gas, variations to feed ratio, and technical problems in the furnace. Results of laboratory testing showed that the liquid fuel selectivity could reach 60% under the studied conditions of 488 K (215 °C), H2/CO = 2 and 0.1 MPa (1 bar) over a commercial Fischer Tropsch catalyst. Analysis indicated that the catalyst had two active sites for propagation, one site for the generation of methane and another for the production of liquid fuels and wax products. However, although the production of liquid fuels was verified at atmospheric pressure with high liquid fuel selectivity, the control of such a system to maintain activity is crucial. From an economic perspective, the system would require subsidies to achieve financial viability.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1031
Number of pages28
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 16 Mar 2019


  • Ambient pressure
  • Anaerobic digestion
  • Atmospheric pressure
  • Biofuels
  • Biogas
  • Farm-scale
  • Fischer Tropsch
  • Liquid fuels


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