In a paper titled “Tuning the catalytic CO hydrogenation to straight- and long-chain aldehydes/alcohols and olefins/paraffins,” researchers Yizhi Xiang and Norbert Kruse outline how catalytic CO hydrogenation can be used to make more than just methanol and long-chain hydrocarbons.
“The approach utilizes the simple, commonly-used Fischer-Tropsch process in a novel way to produce alcohols and aldehydes, used in industry as fuel additives and feedstock for plasticizers, detergents, lubricants, and cosmetics,” explains Michael Alba in his article about the paper on engineering.com.
Same but different
"The catalyst preparation is really important," Kruse tells Alba. In their work, Kruse and Xiang used cobalt, manganese, and potassium.
Two gasses react atop the solid catalyst to produce the chemicals. “Starting with only two gases, we end up with a technically useful liquid that you usually obtain only after a number of steps in petrochemical refining. I think there is a good chance for industrial implementation,” says Kruse in the engineering.com item.
The researchers aim to patent the process and believe that it is a more cost effective and environmentally sound chemical production method. “The process could potentially lower the cost of producing the chemicals, as well as the amount of energy required to do so,” says Alba.
The researcher's full paper as well as data graphs and images can be found here.