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GTL as a Potential Source of Future Clean Transportation Fuels
Several technologies exist for the conversion of natural gas into liquid fuels that can be used as substitutes for crude oil derived fuels. These technologies include: gas to liquids (GTL), methanol, DME, LPG, and gas hydrate production. Growing interest is centering on the technology for manufacturing liquid fuel from natural gas and using the manufactured fuel as a means of transporting natural gas and/or utilizing it as a non-petroleum alternative fuel. This technology primarily consists of two stages: conversion of natural gas to synthesis gas comprising hydrogen and carbon monoxide, and manufacture of liquid fuel from synthesis gas using the Fischer-Tropsch process (or similar process).
Perhaps the biggest challenge facing the petroleum industry over the next decade is to develop the technology for the conversion of natural gas to liquid products (such as methanol, benzene, gasoline, and diesel) that can economically compete with the equivalent crude oil derived fuels. Consequently, there is great deal of current research activity, in both industry and academia, aimed at developing such technologies.
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