TNO has been working for some time already with the Russian institute, which is part of the Russian Academy of Sciences. TIPS has developed a novel method of conversion for gas, biomass and coal to liquid hydrocarbons (XTL) that is more efficient and easier to apply on small scale than the commonly used Fischer-Tropsch process. As described in a paper in the journal Petroleum Chemistry earlier this year, the method developed by TIPS uses the direct conversion of synthesis gas into dimethylether (DME) as the step preceding the direct synthesis of branched hydrocarbons with a high octane number.
This new method requires fewer conversion steps to convert gas or biomass into higher hydrocarbons, with fuel the main application. TIPS has developed a special catalytic conversion for this purpose, one with significantly better properties than those currently used by the industry.
As TIPS’ partner, TNO will introduce this technology to the European chemical industry. The first step is to create a company that is licensed to use this new method. A foreign company has already signalled its willingness to invest, and this investment will allow TNO to design the first prototype for the pilot plant.
Several companies have already indicated their interest in investing in the building of the pilot plant, estimated at twenty million euros. TNO will also be closely involved in the building of this plant, offering support in further upscaling and also looking for new applications.
TNO is also working on a mobile unit that can be used in remote oil production locations where the associated gases can be converted on the spot into fuel.
Kolesnikova, E.; Kitaev, L.; Biryukova, E.; Kolesnichenko, N.; Khadzhiev, S. (2013) Conversion of dimethyl ether to hydrocarbons over structurally organized zeolite catalysts modified with titanium and sulfur. Petroleum Chemistry Vol. 53 Issue 1, p33 doi: 10.1134/S0965544113010064