What is Fischer – Tropsch (FT) Process?

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What is Fischer – Tropsch (FT) Process? Blog Image


Researchers recently discovered previously unknown self-sustained oscillations in the Fischer-Tropsch process that could someday allow for more efficient fuel production.

About Fischer – Tropsch (FT) Process

  • FT process is the process where synthesis gas (H2 and CO) is converted into a mixture of hydrocarbons, oxygenates, water, and carbon dioxide.
  • It was first developed in the 1920s and was named after its discoverers, Franz Fischer and Hans Tropsch.
  •  It involves the reaction of carbon monoxide (CO) and hydrogen (H2) gases.
  • These gases are typically derived from various sources, including coal, natural gas, or biomass, through the process of gasification.

FT process:

  • Synthesis gas (syngas) is the feed material for a FT process.
  • The FT reaction is usually a catalytic reaction at high temperatures and high pressure and the typical catalysts used are based on iron or cobalt.
  • FT process is the catalytic polymerization and hydrogenation of CO, which produces a synthetic crude oil (syncrude).
  • Syncrude is a multiphase mixture of hydrocarbons, oxygenates, and water.
  • The next step is the refining of the syncrude into products that are traditionally produced from conventional crude oil, such as transportation fuels and petrochemicals. 


  • It has several important applications, including the production of synthetic fuels and chemicals.
  • The hydrocarbons produced by the FT process can be refined and used in place of more conventional liquid fuels derived from crude oil.
  • Generally, these products are of higher quality than those derived through conventional means, having no sulphur or aromatics 

Q1: What are Hydrocarbons?

Hydrocarbons are organic chemical compounds composed only of the elements carbon (C) and hydrogen (H). The carbon atoms join together to form the framework of the compound, and the hydrogen atoms attach to them in many different configurations. Hydrocarbons are the principal constituents of petroleum and natural gas. They serve as fuels and lubricants as well as raw materials for the production of plastics, fibres, rubbers, solvents, explosives, and industrial chemicals.

Source: Discovery made about Fischer–Tropsch process could help improve fuel production