Synthetic Liquids Production and Refining
Availability of affordable energy is a key factor in providing economic growth and an improved standard of living. For transportation, almost all of the liquid fuels are produced from crude oil. Alternative carbon sources are being used for transportation fuels only on a limited scale, and research efforts focusing on the conversion of coal, natural gas, biomass and waste to liquid products (XTL conversion) ebb and flow with the price of crude oil. Crude oil is still
considered the cheapest and most convenient source of liquid fuels, despite continually voiced concerns regarding energy security. However, the cost-effective availability of crude oil could change, possibly dramatically, in a short period of time.
Against the backdrop of concern about CO2-induced climate change, we are confronted with the "inconvenient reality" that over the medium term most of our energy requirements will be met by the conversion of fossil fuels. This is true both for transportation fuel production and for electric power generation. There is also the looming spectre of "peak oil", the point in time when global crude oil production reaches a maximum. This is coupled by increasing demand for crude oil from the developing
world. So, what do we do when there is a demand for liquid transportation fuels and petrochemicals, but crude oil is in short supply? The technological answer is to supplement conventional crude oil production with synthetic crude oil production. It is clear that society is not yet ready to forego
carbon-based energy. Therefore, although it is not clear when a strong synthetic crude oil industry will emerge, but when it does emerge, it is essential that the best technology and technical understanding be available for application.
A symposium on "Coal-, Gas-, Biomass- and Waste-to-Liquids Conversion" was held at the 240th American Chemical Society National Meeting in Boston in August 2010. It provided the opportunity to gauge current activity and progress in this field. This book follows and builds upon previous symposia devoted to the study of biomass, coal and waste conversion. The chapters cover carbon-based feed conversion, synthetic crude production and refining of the synthetic crude.