Deactivation of commercially relevant cobalt catalysts for Low Temperature Fischer-Tropsch (LTFT) synthesis is discussed with a focus on the two main long-term deactivation mechanisms proposed: Carbon deposits covering the catalytic surface and re-oxidation of the cobalt metal. There is a great variety in commercial, demonstration or pilot LTFT operations in terms of reactor systems employed, catalyst formulations and process conditions. Lack of sufficient data makes it difficult to correlate the deactivation mechanism with the actual process and catalyst design. It is well known that long term catalyst deactivation is sensitive to the conditions the actual catalyst experiences in the reactor. Therefore, great care should be taken during start-up, shutdown and upsets to monitor and control process variables such as reactant concentrations, pressure and temperature which greatly affect deactivation mechanism and rate. Nevertheless, evidence so far shows that carbon deposition is the main long-term deactivation mechanism for most LTFT operations. It is intriguing that some reports indicate a low deactivation rate for multi-channel micro-reactors. In situ
rejuvenation and regeneration of Co catalysts are economically necessary for extending their life to several years. The review covers information from open sources, but with a particular focus on patent literature.
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License
which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited