Fischer-Tropsch synthesis, Cobalt catalyst, Silver promotion, Silica-alumina support


A series of silver-promoted, 20 wt% cobalt Fischer-Tropsch synthesis (FTS) catalysts supported on an alumina modified with 5 wt% silica were prepared using two methods: traditional incipient wetness impregnation (IWI) and a new solvent deficient precipitation (SDP) technique. Catalysts containing silver promoter concentrations of 0.3, 0.6, 1.2, and 2.5 wt% were prepared using each of the two methods. Silver improved the reducibility of the cobalt significantly, lowering reduction temperatures by up to 100 C, and increasing the extent of reduction by up to 35%. Further, in both preparation methods, changing the silver loading altered the cobalt dispersion. The smallest Co crystallite size was achieved with 1.2 wt% Ag loading, which produced average cobalt crystallite sizes of about 7 nm. The Fischer-Tropsch CO consumption rate increased with decreasing crystallite size and thus was highest for 1.2 wt% Ag. Intrinsic CO consumption rates per Co site (CO turnover frequency) were also measured for each catalyst. A clear increase in the intrinsic turnover frequency (TOF) was observed as Ag loading was increased from 0.6% to 1.2 wt% for both preparation methods. Both 1.2 wt% Ag catalysts produced TOF’s of about 0.050 s-1 (equivalent to a CO consumption rate of about 65 mmol gcat-1h-1), which are 20–30% higher than the catalysts containing 0.3, 0.6, and 2.5 wt% Ag and are comparable to reported rates for commercial FTS catalysts. Higher loadings of Ag (2.5 wt%) resulted in higher extents of reduction, but led to lower TOFs and larger Co crystallite diameters, which is assumed to be due to blockage of active sites and changes in the Ag-Ag and Ag-Co coordination ratio. Thus, silver promotion appears to improve catalytic performance by enhancing cobalt reduction, dispersion, and electronic properties. The SDP and IWI methods produced catalysts with essentially the same properties, but the SDP method is a simpler, one-pot technique that offers many potential advantages.

Original Publication Citation

Rahmati, M., B. Huang, L. M. Schofield, T. H. Fletcher, B. F. Woodfield, W. C. Hecker, C. H. Bartholomew, and M. D. Argyle, “Effects of Ag Promotion and Preparation Method on Fischer-Tropsch Activity and Selectivity Properties of Cobalt Supported Catalysts on Silica-doped Alumina,” Journal of Catalysis, 362, 118-128 (2018). DOI: 10.1016/j.jcat.2018.03.027

Document Type

Peer-Reviewed Article

Publication Date







Ira A. Fulton College of Engineering


Chemical Engineering

University Standing at Time of Publication

Full Professor