Fischer-Tropsch process

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An industrial method of making hydrocarbon fuels from carbon monoxide and hydrogen. The process was invented in 1933 and used by Germany in World War II to produce motor fuel. Hydrogen and carbon monoxide are mixed in the ratio 2:1 (water gas was used with added hydrogen) and passed at 200°C over a nickel or cobalt catalyst. The resulting hydrocarbon mixture can be separated into a higher-boiling fraction for Diesel engines and a lower-boiling gasoline fraction. The gasoline fraction contains a high proportion of straight-chain hydrocarbons and has to be reformed for use in motor fuel. Alcohols, aldehydes, and ketones are also present. The process is also used in the manufacture of SNG from coal. It is named after the German chemist Franz Fischer (1852–1932) and the Czech Hans Tropsch (1839–1935).

Subjects: Chemistry.

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