In a catalytic process for converting synthesis gas including hydrogen and carbon monoxide to hydrocarbons and oxygenates by a slurry Fischer-Tropsch synthesis, the wax product along with dispersed catalyst is removed from the slurry and purified by removing substantially all of the catalyst prior to upgrading the wax and returning a portion to the Fischer-Tropsch reaction. Separation of the catalyst particles from the wax product is accomplished by dense gas and/or liquid extraction in which the organic compounds in the wax are dissolved and carried away from the insoluble inorganic catalyst particles that are primarily inorganic in nature. The purified catalyst free wax product can be subsequently upgraded by various methods such as hydrogenation, isomerization, hydrocracking, conversion to gasoline and other products over ZSM-5 aluminosilicate zeolite, etc. The catalyst particles are returned to the Fischer-Tropsch Reactor by slurring them with a wax fraction of appropriate molecular weight, boiling point and viscosity to avoid reactor gelation.
CONTRACTUAL ORIGIN OF THE INVENTION
The United States Government has rights in this invention pursuant to the employer-employee relationship of the Government to inventors as U.S. Department of Energy employees at the Pittsburgh Energy Technology Center and pursuant to Subcontract No. 8273-1898 with Kerr-McGee Corporation under US DOE Contract No. DE-AC22-89PC88400.