Temperature stabilisation in Fischer-Tropsch reactors using phase change material (PCM)

Ademola Omowale Odunsi*, Tadhg S. O'Donovan, David A. Reay

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

29 Citations (Scopus)
66 Downloads (Pure)


The Fischer-Tropsch (FT) reaction is highly exothermic. The exothermicity combined with a high sensitivity of product selectivity to temperature constitute the main challenges in the design of FT reactors. Temperature control is particularly critical to the process in order to ensure longevity of the catalyst, optimise the product distribution, and to ensure thermo-mechanical reliability of the entire process. The use of encapsulated, Phase Change Material (PCM), in conjunction with a supervisory temperature control mechanism, could help mitigate these challenges and intensify the heat transport from the reactor. A 2D-axisymmetric, pseudo-homogeneous, steady-state model, with the dissipation of the enthalpy of reaction into an isothermal PCM sink, in a wall-cooled, single-tube fixed bed reactor is presented. Effective temperature control shows a shift in thermodynamic equilibrium, favouring the selectivity of longer chain hydrocarbons (C5+) to the disadvantage of CH4 selectivity-a much desired outcome in the hydrocarbon Gas-to-Liquid (GTL) industry.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1377–1393
Number of pages17
JournalApplied Thermal Engineering
Early online date5 Sept 2015
Publication statusPublished - 25 Jan 2016


  • Exothermic reaction
  • Fischer-Tropsch synthesis
  • Phase change material (PCM)

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Energy Engineering and Power Technology
  • Industrial and Manufacturing Engineering


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