Lab-Scale Fischer Tropsch, Range Fuels Has Issues, Now Live On The Phone 510-845-1500

Fischer Tropsch Progress Report

Jay Hasty and Jon-Richard Little made a nice video explaining the scale-scale Fischer Tropsch reactor Jay is developing. This is a good introduction to the process and some of the (many) issues that need to get solved before it’s a reasonable proposition. No, we haven’t yet made any liquid. But we have made some impressive soot and a bit of methane, though really we’re still working out the many details of set up. Liquid seems not far away.

Even once we have liquid, it is important to remember the distance from demo liquid to something that is realistic to deploy is not trivial. If there is any hole in the ground into which more money has been poured to lesser results than gasification and pyrolysis, it is gas-to-liquids work. Combine them both together, with a good dose of VC “oversight”, and you get something like the recent Range Fuel 300 million dollar hoovering of US taxpayers.

The natives on the gasification list have been having a field day on the autopsy of the Range Fuels corpse. The thread starts here for your entertainment:

Or see Robert Rapier’s perspective in the R Squared Energy Blog on the perils of too much money and too little petrochem industry experience:

Anyways, back to the point. We’re trying to assess whether small scale GTL will yield to the “expert engineering of everyday junk” stragety, like the basic gasifier proposition has yielded with the GEK project. Some things are better and easier at smaller-scale and with less funding. Some things are harder. The big scale and lots of funding new GTL model isn’t doing too well to date. Maybe we can to better on the other path. Or, maybe we should just import the SASOL folks and let them rebuild their already well worked out solution.

Here’s the basics in video:

Jay has also put together some good reports in the GEK forum on various aspects of the problem. Here’s a tour of the links.

Making iron-based Fischer Tropsch Catalysts

Catalyst Surface Area and Co-precipitation Methods

Scaling Down Fischer Tropsch

Gas-to-Liquids Progress Report

New Phone Line with Live Human (510) 845-1500

As most of you know, we’ve been rather challenged keeping up with incoming email and phone traffic on GEK interest. The volume is thankfully much larger than we could have ever expected. We honored so many of you have found this interesting.

Recently we’ve brought on two new people to tend the incoming volume full time- Yoav Palatnik and Jon-Richard Little. Rachael Norman and myself (Jim Mason) still do a good deal of it too, and Jay Hasty continues to do all post delivery support and run advice.

The result is we are now able to keep up in near real time with your notes. We’re caught up enough that we can now have a regular public phone for calls in during business hours. Jon-Richard is tending the phone and is very well versed in Power Pallet application questions and general tech issues.

The APL hotline is now available between 10am – 6am Pacific US time. The number is US (510) 845-1500. You can also find us on Skype at “aplgek”

We’ve also updated our team page. If you’ve ever wondered who’s in the building on the other end of this endeavor, see here:

The Factory Lineup

And finally, here’s what things look like in the factory these days. We continue to make progress on the many fronted challenges of manufacturing the Power Pallets in number.

1 comment to Lab-Scale Fischer Tropsch, Range Fuels Has Issues, Now Live On The Phone 510-845-1500

  • Rahul Menon


    As part of my curriculum I am preparing a project on ‘Synthesis of liquid HC using fischer-tropsch process’. With the help of a gasification company I can fetch the feed for FT process, i.e producer gas. So the rest of my job is to design an FT reactor. If its possible please guide me to design an FT reactor compatible with a 12 kg/hr open top downdraught gasifier.

    Thanking you.

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