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ROCKET PROPELLANTS

IP.com Disclosure Number: IPCOM000021747D
Publication Date: 2004-Feb-05
Document File: 17 page(s) / 89K

Publishing Venue

The IP.com Prior Art Database

Related People

Gavin Kotze: ATTORNEY [+5]

Related Documents

US 22036038: PATENT [+2]

Abstract

THIS INVENTION relates to rocket propellants. It relates in particular to a fuel component suitable for use as a rocket propellant and to a process for producing such a fuel component.

This text was extracted from a Microsoft Word document.
This is the abbreviated version, containing approximately 9% of the total text.

ROCKET PROPELLANTS

THIS INVENTION relates to rocket propellants. It relates in particular to a fuel component suitable for use as a rocket propellant and to a process for producing such a fuel component.

The Applicant is aware that wax can be used as an environmentally friendly rocket propellant or fuel. However, conventionally, most waxes are obtained from crude oil refinery processes, often related to the manufacture of lubricant base oils via solvent extraction. While these waxes are highly paraffinic, they also contain variable and often unpredictable levels of other species, including heteroelements like sulphur, thereby resulting in possible limitations in the versatility of their use as rocket propellants.

It is thus an object of the invention to provide a fuel component suitable for use as a rocket propellant whereby this drawback can be overcome or at least alleviated.

According to a first aspect of the invention, there is provided a fuel component suitable for use as a rocket propellant or in a hot gas generator, which fuel component comprises a Fischer Tropsch (FT) derived synthetic wax.

By “Fischer-Tropsch derived” in respect of the synthetic wax is meant a wax obtained by reacting, by means of a Fischer-Tropsch (FT) reaction, a fuel synthesis gas comprising carbon monoxide and hydrogen in the presence of a suitable FT catalyst, normally a cobalt or iron FT catalyst, at elevated temperature in a suitable reactor, which is normally a fixed or slurry bed reactor, thereby to obtain a range of products, including waxy material. The products from the FT reaction must then be worked up to obtain individual products such as the wax hereinbefore referred to. By “synthetic” in relation to the wax is thus meant that it is synthesized and is thus not naturally occurring as in the case of crude oil derived waxes.

The FT process is thus a well known process in which synthesis gas is reacted over a metal oxide containing catalyst, by means of the FT reaction, to produce a mixture of straight and branched chain hydrocarbons ranging from methane to waxes together with smaller amounts of oxygenates.

Synthesis gas (syngas) normally contains hydrogen and carbon monoxide in a 3:1 to 1:1 molar ratio, preferably in a 5:2 to 3:2 molar ratio. This syngas is thus converted into synthetic FT products comprising hydrocarbon ranging from methane to species with molecular masses above 1400. The syngas may be derived from coal, natural gas, biomass or heavy oil streams,

While the main products of the FT process are linear paraffinic materials, other products may include branched paraffins, olefins and oxygenated components. The exact product slate for a particular FT process depends on the reactor configuration used, operating conditions and the catalyst that is employed, as is evident from articles such as Catal.Rev.-Sci. Eng., 23(1&2), 265-278 (1981).

Preferred reactors for the production of heavier hydrocarbons are slurry bed or tubular fixed bed re...