The latest technology for diesel fuel production is called Fischer-Tropsch (FT) technology. It converts natural gas or other hydrocarbon feedstocks into middle distillates such as ultra-low sulfur diesel (ULSD) andjet fuel. The technology is based on a chemical process that was first developed in the 1920s by German chemist Franz Fischer and South African engineer Hans Tropsch. Fischer-Tropsch plants have been in operation for over 80 years, but the technology has only recently been commercialized for use in producing transportation fuels.
There are a number of benefits to using FT technology for diesel fuel production. FT diesel contains no sulfur, making it much cleaner burning than diesel produced from crude oil. It also has a higher cetane number than conventional diesel, which means it ignites more easily and burns more completely. This results in improved engine performance and fuel economy. In addition, FT diesel can be blended with conventional diesel to create a fuel with lower emissions.
There are a number of companies currently developing FT technology for commercial use, including Shell, Sasol, and Chevron.