Fischer-Tropsch process (fĭshˈər-trōpsh) [key], method for the synthesis of hydrocarbons and other aliphatic compounds. Synthesis gas, a mixture of hydrogen and carbon monoxide, is reacted in the presence of an iron or cobalt catalyst; much heat is evolved, and such products as methane, synthetic gasoline and waxes, and alcohols are made, with water or carbon dioxide produced as a byproduct. An important source of the hydrogen–carbon monoxide gas mixture is the gasification of coal (see water gas). The process is named after F. Fischer and H. Tropsch, the German coal researchers who discovered it in 1923.
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