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  • A new, game-changing process converts gas to liquids or to ethylene


    K. R. Hall and B. R. Weber

    Natural gas is a clean-burning and abundant energy resource, but much of it resides in locations remote from markets without an economic means of transport. One solution is to liquefy the gas, but this option involves considerable costs because it requires very low temperatures, making it practical only for large gas fields. Another solution is to convert the gas into hydrocarbon liquids using chemical processing. Gas-To-Liquids (GTL) technology using the Fischer-Tropsch process has been commercially available for more than 80 years to convert natural gas into “syngas” (a mixture of carbon monoxide and hydrogen) followed by conversion into liquid fuels. Unfortunately, Fischer-Tropsch technology is also expensive and requires large gas fields to justify the capital investment. A Texas A&M University-led team has conceived a new process for converting natural gas into hydrocarbon liquids. The technology was enhanced by Synfuels International Inc., which licensed it in 1998.

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