Journal of Undergraduate Research


thermally stable support, improved synthetic fuel catalyst


Ira A. Fulton College of Engineering and Technology


Chemical Engineering


Fischer-Tropsch Synthesis (FTS) has attracted interest recently as large natural gas deposits have been discovered across the globe. FTS is a gas-to-liquid technology that produces fuels with far fewer sulfur or nitrogen impurities, making it an attractive cleaner alternative to petroleum fuels[1]. Cobalt is the preferred catalyst for FTS[2], but it must be supported to achieve optimal performance. Alumina and silica have been used independently as colbalt FTS supports[3-4], and in mixtures as supports for other processes, but mixed silica-alumina supports have not been studied for FTS applications[5]. The BYU Catalysis Lab has discovered a silica-alumina support (AlSi) with high surface area, high thermal stability, and optimal acid concentrations[5]. The goal of this study is to determine the cause of the improved properties of AlSi and compare the support with other standard industrial supports.