Multidimensional modeling of a microfibrous entrapped cobalt catalyst Fischer‐Tropsch reactor bed Academic Article uri icon


  • © 2017 American Institute of Chemical Engineers Thermal management of highly exothermic Fischer-Tropsch synthesis (FTS) has been a challenging bottleneck limiting the radial dimension of the packed-bed (PB) reactor tube to 1.5 in. ID. A computational demonstration of a novel microfibrous entrapped cobalt catalyst (MFECC) in mitigating hot spot formation has been evaluated. Specifically, a two-dimensional (2-D) model was developed in COMSOL®, validated with experimental data and subsequently employed to demonstrate scale-up of the FTS bed from 0.59 to 4 in. ID. Significant hot spot of 102.39 K in PB was reduced to 9.4 K in MFECC bed under gas phase at 528.15 K and 2 MPa. Improvement in heat transfer within the MFECC bed facilitates higher productivities at low space velocities (≥1000 h−1) corresponding to high CO conversion (≥90%). Additionally, the MFECC reactor provides an eightfold increase in the reactor ID at hot spots ≤ 30 K with CO% conversions ≥ 90%. This model was developed for a typical FTS cobalt-based catalyst where CO2 production is negligible. © 2017 American Institute of Chemical Engineers AIChE J, 64: 1723–1731, 2018.

author list (cited authors)

  • Challiwala, M. S., Wilhite, B. A., Ghouri, M. M., & Elbashir, N. O.

citation count

  • 7

publication date

  • December 2017