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Research Themes

Fischer Tropsch

The Fischer-Tropsch synthesis, which lies at the heart of South Africa’s synthetic fuels and chemicals industry, is a key research area of the Catalysis Institute. A large number of industry and government funded projects are being conducted in this field. These reach from fundamental studies including computational work and projects on model catalysts to industrial catalysts. Strong emphasis is placed on understanding structure-sensitivity relationships, the role of supports and promoters as well as deactivation mechanisms. Various test reactors (fixed bed, slurry and Berty), which allow testing at industrially relevant conditions, are available for these studies. In addition, unique in-situ instrumentation (XRD and magnetometer) has been developed enabling direct characterization of catalysts at fully relevant reaction conditions. The Catalysis Institute is also looking at exploiting the ability of the synthesis to convert the green house gas CO2 instead of CO, and the ability to produce valuable chemicals via suitable modification of catalyst formulations and reaction parameters.