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Gas to liquids: historical development of GTL technology in Shell

Gas to liquids: historical development of GTL technology in Shell Green Process Synth 2014; 3: 393 Book review DOI 10.1515/gps-2014-0061 Ton van Helvoort, Rob van Veen and Matthijs Senden Shell International B.V., 2014 Hardcover, 336 pp. ISBN: 978-90-73192-36-2 Gas to liquids: historical development of GTL technology in Shell, written by T. van Helvoort, R. van Veen and M. Senden, presents a chronicle of the development of gasto-liquid (GTL) technology at the Shell Technology Centre, Amsterdam. Three main topics are addressed: (i) research and development (R&D) at Shell and the origin of synthetic fuels (synfuels); (ii) catalytic challenges in the FischerTropsch (FT) and Shell Middle-Distillate Synthesis (SMDS) processes; and (iii) projects' descriptions of synfuels commercial plants at Bintulu (Malaysia) and Pearl GTL (Qatar). R&D at Shell and the origin of synfuels is discussed in Chapters 1 and 2, respectively. In Chapter 1, the authors present the creation and evolution of Shell's laboratories in Amsterdam from 1914 to 1983. Then the authors describe the changes made in R&D after World War II, and how Shell's facilities in other countries contributed to the development of GTL products. In Chapter 2, the authors address the origin of synfuels from an international context. The discussion focuses on coal to liquid (CTL) processes, using both direct and indirect coal liquefaction proceses (the latter being the FT process). The catalytic challenges in the FT and SMDS processes are presented in Chapters 3 and 4, respectively. First, the authors focus on the FT technology as an enabler for the production of synfuels, and how the development of CTL technology was driven by the oil crisis of the 1970s. Later, the authors describe the research involved with the improvement of the existing FT catalysts, and how the discovery of the Zeolite Socony Mobil-5 (ZSM-5) catalyst by Mobil opened a window of opportunities for the direct synthesis of hydrocarbons from syngas. Then, in Chapter 4, the authors address the development of the SMDS process. First, they present the three main stages of the SMDS process: (i) syngas manufacturing via Shell gasification process (SGP); (ii) heavy paraffin synthesis (HPS); and (iii) heavy paraffin conversion (HPC). Additionally, the authors state the difficulties linked with the HPS reactor and why they adopted a multitubular reactor concept. Finally, the authors explain the research done to obtain the appropriate catalyst formulation for the HPS stage. A description of the Bintulu and Pearl projects is presented in Chapters 5 and 6, respectively. In Chapter 5, the authors describe the SMDS process used at Bintulu. A complete block scheme and several aspects such as design, economics, marketing and management are discussed. Problems that arose during and after the startup of the plant, and how they were troubleshot are also presented. In Chapter 6, the authors address the PEARL GTL project in Qatar, and provide a general description. A brief comparison of scales of Bintulu and PEARL (capacities and the number of main process units) is given. The authors also highlight the importance of the experience gained in the Bintulu plant and the success of the PEARL GTL complex at its completion, start-up and operation. To conclude, the authors succeed in giving a comprehensive overview of Shell's GTL technology development. It is a remarkable reading for people related to process design and R&D, particularly to those concerned with GTL technologies. Historical and technical facts are included, which make the book interesting and easy to read. It is worth noting that GTL developments at other companies such as Sasol, BP or Exxon are out of the scope of this book, and thus are not mentioned. In addition, useful information regarding typical problems encountered in R&D and how Shell managed to solve them are presented. Sometimes the authors referred to good findings or leads because of "serendipity", but as Louis Pasteur said "In the fields of observation chance favors only the prepared mind", thus it seems that Shell was prepared to take the challenges and overcome the obstacles that arose in the GTL journey. Carlos Ortega Department of Chemical Engineering and Chemistry, Eindhoven University of Technology, Den Dolech 2, 5612AZ Eindhoven, The Netherlands, E-mail: c.e.ortega@tue.nl http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Green Processing and Synthesis de Gruyter

Gas to liquids: historical development of GTL technology in Shell

Green Processing and Synthesis , Volume 3 (5) – Oct 1, 2014

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Publisher
de Gruyter
Copyright
Copyright © 2014 by the
ISSN
2191-9542
eISSN
2191-9550
DOI
10.1515/gps-2014-0061
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Abstract

Green Process Synth 2014; 3: 393 Book review DOI 10.1515/gps-2014-0061 Ton van Helvoort, Rob van Veen and Matthijs Senden Shell International B.V., 2014 Hardcover, 336 pp. ISBN: 978-90-73192-36-2 Gas to liquids: historical development of GTL technology in Shell, written by T. van Helvoort, R. van Veen and M. Senden, presents a chronicle of the development of gasto-liquid (GTL) technology at the Shell Technology Centre, Amsterdam. Three main topics are addressed: (i) research and development (R&D) at Shell and the origin of synthetic fuels (synfuels); (ii) catalytic challenges in the FischerTropsch (FT) and Shell Middle-Distillate Synthesis (SMDS) processes; and (iii) projects' descriptions of synfuels commercial plants at Bintulu (Malaysia) and Pearl GTL (Qatar). R&D at Shell and the origin of synfuels is discussed in Chapters 1 and 2, respectively. In Chapter 1, the authors present the creation and evolution of Shell's laboratories in Amsterdam from 1914 to 1983. Then the authors describe the changes made in R&D after World War II, and how Shell's facilities in other countries contributed to the development of GTL products. In Chapter 2, the authors address the origin of synfuels from an international context. The discussion focuses on coal to liquid (CTL) processes, using both direct and indirect coal liquefaction proceses (the latter being the FT process). The catalytic challenges in the FT and SMDS processes are presented in Chapters 3 and 4, respectively. First, the authors focus on the FT technology as an enabler for the production of synfuels, and how the development of CTL technology was driven by the oil crisis of the 1970s. Later, the authors describe the research involved with the improvement of the existing FT catalysts, and how the discovery of the Zeolite Socony Mobil-5 (ZSM-5) catalyst by Mobil opened a window of opportunities for the direct synthesis of hydrocarbons from syngas. Then, in Chapter 4, the authors address the development of the SMDS process. First, they present the three main stages of the SMDS process: (i) syngas manufacturing via Shell gasification process (SGP); (ii) heavy paraffin synthesis (HPS); and (iii) heavy paraffin conversion (HPC). Additionally, the authors state the difficulties linked with the HPS reactor and why they adopted a multitubular reactor concept. Finally, the authors explain the research done to obtain the appropriate catalyst formulation for the HPS stage. A description of the Bintulu and Pearl projects is presented in Chapters 5 and 6, respectively. In Chapter 5, the authors describe the SMDS process used at Bintulu. A complete block scheme and several aspects such as design, economics, marketing and management are discussed. Problems that arose during and after the startup of the plant, and how they were troubleshot are also presented. In Chapter 6, the authors address the PEARL GTL project in Qatar, and provide a general description. A brief comparison of scales of Bintulu and PEARL (capacities and the number of main process units) is given. The authors also highlight the importance of the experience gained in the Bintulu plant and the success of the PEARL GTL complex at its completion, start-up and operation. To conclude, the authors succeed in giving a comprehensive overview of Shell's GTL technology development. It is a remarkable reading for people related to process design and R&D, particularly to those concerned with GTL technologies. Historical and technical facts are included, which make the book interesting and easy to read. It is worth noting that GTL developments at other companies such as Sasol, BP or Exxon are out of the scope of this book, and thus are not mentioned. In addition, useful information regarding typical problems encountered in R&D and how Shell managed to solve them are presented. Sometimes the authors referred to good findings or leads because of "serendipity", but as Louis Pasteur said "In the fields of observation chance favors only the prepared mind", thus it seems that Shell was prepared to take the challenges and overcome the obstacles that arose in the GTL journey. Carlos Ortega Department of Chemical Engineering and Chemistry, Eindhoven University of Technology, Den Dolech 2, 5612AZ Eindhoven, The Netherlands, E-mail: c.e.ortega@tue.nl

Journal

Green Processing and Synthesisde Gruyter

Published: Oct 1, 2014

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