Authors: Dalia Liuzzi, Ekain Fernandez, Susana Perez, Enrique Ipiñazar, Amaya Arteche, José Luís G. Fierro, Jose Luis Viviente, David Alfredo Pacheco Tanaka and Sergio Rojas

From the journal Reviews in Chemical Engineering
Date: april-03. 2022.
Doi: 10.1515/revce-2019-0067.

The biomass-to-liquid (BtL) process is a promising technology to obtain clean, liquid, second-generation biofuels and chemicals. The BtL process, which comprises several steps, is based upon the gasification of biomass and the catalytic transformation of the syngas that is obtained via the Fischer-Tropsch synthesis (FTS) reaction, producing a hydrocarbon pool known as syncrude. The FTS process is a well-established technology, and there are currently very large FTS plants operating worldwide that produce liquid fuels and hydrocarbons from natural gas (NG) (gas-to-liquids, GtL process) and coal (coal-to-liquids, CtL process). Due to the limited availability of local biomass, the size of the BtL plants should be downscaled compared to that of a GtL or CtL plant. Since the feasibility of the XtL (X refers to any energy source that can be converted to liquid, including coal, NG, biomass, municipal solid waste, etc.) processes is strongly influenced by the economies of scale, the viability of small-scale BtL plants can be compromised. An interesting approach to overcome this issue is to increase the productivity of the FTS process by developing reactors and catalysts with higher productivities to generate the desired product fraction. Recently, by integrating membrane reactors with the FTS process the gas feeding and separation unit have been demonstrated in a single reactor. In this review, the most significant achievements in the field of catalytic membrane reactors for the FTS process will be discussed. Different types of membranes and configurations of membrane reactors, including H2O separation and H2-feed distribution, among others, will be analyzed…