University Chemistry ›› 2021, Vol. 36 ›› Issue (6): 2102030.doi: 10.3866/PKU.DXHX202102030

• Chemistry History • Previous Articles    

Revisiting Classic Cases of Original Discoveries and Inventions: Fischer-Tropsch Process in Chemistry

Teng Ma1, Yaqin Wang1,2,*()   

  1. 1 Institute of Science, Shenyang Agricultural University, Shenyang 110866, China
    2 School of Environmental and Chemical Engineering, Shenyang Ligong University, Shenyang 110159, China
  • Received:2021-02-18 Accepted:2021-03-25 Published:2021-04-06
  • Contact: Yaqin Wang


The paper would revisit the classic story of Fischer-Tropsch process and explore thoroughly the details to get some hints about how an important invention was achieved in the research project. In investigating the conversion of coal into liquid fuels, Franz Fischer and Hans Tropsch at the Kaiser Wilhelm Institute of Coal Research, recognized the potential value of a chemical process of converting carbon monoxide and hydrogen gases into complex mixtures of hydrocarbons, which could be used as alternative liquid fuels. Fischer and Tropsch confirmed their judgements and developed the first practical catalyst in the following 12 years for the process, which initiated the development of indirect coal liquefaction in industrial catalysis. The Fischer-Tropsch process could be used as one classic source of achieving original ideas or solutions for graduate students in their professional careers. Furthermore, for the supervisors or faculty members in universities or research institutes, it would provide an arsenal of spurring scientific discoveries or technological inventions in graduate education programs.

Key words: Graduate education program, Original discoveries and inventions, Fischer-Tropsch process, Energy chemistry, Catalysis


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