Huilong Gai, Kailiang Zheng, Julia Lin and Helen H Lou
Natural gas is recognized as one of the cleanest and most abundant fossil fuels. In the past decades, the price ratio of crude oil to natural gas has continuously fluctuated. The gas-to-liquid industry has received continuous interest due to the abundant supply of conventional and unconventional natural gas (shale gas, etc.), as well as the environmental advantages of FT technology. The GTL process chemically converts natural gas to long chain hydrocarbons (naphtha, diesel, wax, etc.) through three main steps, i.e., natural gas reforming, Fischer-Tropsch synthesis (FTS), and products upgrading. In this work, a rigorous simulation model including gas sweetening, syngas production, FTS, and product fractionation is provided. Among different routes for natural gas reforming and different reactors for FTS in a GTL process, autothermal reforming (ATR) and slurry bubble column reactor (SBCR) were chosen respectively, due to their advantages over other solutions. Meanwhile, the economic and environmental analyses were also conducted for the sustainability assessment of provided GTL process using Aspen Icarus and WAR software.