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Production of Nitrogen and Phosphorus containing products in the Fischer-Tropsch-Synthesis


The Fischer-Tropsch synthesis is an important process to convert coal, natural gas and biomass to a variety of hydrocarbon products and oxygenates of different chain length. These products mainly find use as transportation fuels including petrol jet fuel and diesel as well as special waxes.


In this modified Fischer-Tropsch process valuable nitrogen or phosphorous containing products of varying chain length are produced via co-feeding of suitable gases such as ammonia. These nitrogen-containing products include amines but also nitriles, amides and formamides. Amines and nitriles are important base chemicals and they are typically produced from oxygenates precursors which themselves are derived from olefins. This process therefore eliminates the use of a two step process. Similarly phosphorous containing compounds can be produced. Moreover, the formation of oxygenates including carboxylic acids which are undesired products of the synthesis can be fully suppressed with the modified process. Notably this can be achieved with no or tolerable loss of catalyst activity. The new process has been tested in bench scale. Integration in existing plants and adaption of process parameters are needed.


  • Can be incorporated in existing Fischer-Tropsch plants/ units without catalyst modification (iron based catalysts are best suited)
  • Allows flexible operation of Fischer-Tropsch plants/ units in either “fuels” or “chemicals” mode
  • Production of valuable chemicals not traditionally obtained in the Fischer-Tropsch synthesis such as nitrogen and phosphorous containing compounds
  • One-step synthesis of nitrogen and phosphorous containing compounds instead of two-step process
  • Suppression of oxygenate formation including carboxylic acids
  • Possibility to selectively convert oxygenates including glycerine to valuable nitrogen and phosphorous containing compounds

Additional Benefit:

  • Improvement of selectivity of valuable chemicals in Fischer-Tropsch synthesis
  • Enables to react quickly on changing market conditions (“demand driven production”)
  • Enables to operate an existing Fischer-Tropsch plant more efficiently

Scope of application

There has been increasing interest worldwide in the production of hydrocarbon liquids for the fuel market in recent years. Various Gas-to-liquid (GtL) and Coal-to-liquid (CtL) plants are in operation and more will come online in the near future. In addition the conversion of Biomass into liquid (Biomass to Liquid, BtL) is becoming increasingly important. In this situation the Fischer-Tropsch-Technology plays a central role in all strategies. The synthesis of hetero-atom containing compounds opens a new way to non-fossil based feedstock.

Target Groups:

An ideal commercial partner to use this modified process will be a company that wants to get into the "XtL" business with focus on chemical production or a company that is already in the "XtL" business, but with an interest in making use of the potential of the Fischer-Tropsch synthesis to produce highly valuable nitrogen and phosphorous containing compounds. It is also to those who want to selectively convert oxygenates including glycerine to nitrogen and phosphorous containing products. Moreover, catalysts manufactures who may improve and maximise the performance of catalysts for the modified process will have an interest in this process.

InnoWi GmbH

Dipl.-Biol. Birgit Funk
0421 96007-14
Fahrenheitstraße 1
28359 Bremen

Development status

Proof of concept

Patent situation

  • EP 2274277A4 pending
  • US 8,513,463 granted
  • ZA 2010/07629 granted


Fischer-Tropsch-Synthesis, Selectivity, Co-feeding, nitrogen and phosphorous containing compounds

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