Methanol to gasoline synthesis

Methanol-to-gasoline (MTG) chemistry was discovered by Mobil™ scientists in the 1970s. Over years of extensive studies and pilot plant operations, ExxonMobil developed an understanding of the MTG reactions and process conditions necessary to consistently produce motor gasoline from syngas.

Synthesis gas (or syngas) is produced by gasification of carbon containing fuel to a gaseous product and is a mixture of carbon monoxide, hydrogen and carbon dioxide. This gasification is accomplished by partial oxidation and/or reforming reactions in gasification and reforming units. Syngas can then be converted into hydrocarbons and oxygenates.

The most common technologies for converting syngas into liquids incorporate Fischer-Tropsch synthesis or Methanol synthesis (Methanol-to-Gasoline, MTG). Both Fischer-Tropsch and MTG routes can convert synthesis gas to liquid transportation fuels. However, their respective product slates are very different. The Fischer-Tropsch process typically produces a broad spectrum of straight-chain paraffinic hydrocarbons that can be further refined to produce commercial-quality gasoline, jet fuel and diesel. In contrast, MTG selectively converts methanol to one liquid product: ultra-low-sulfur, low-benzene regular octane gasoline. MTG gasoline meets the requirements for conventional gasoline, is fully compatible with refinery gasoline and meets the ASTM D4814 Specification for Automotive Spark-Ignition Engine Fuel.


  • Product slate simplicity. Fischer-Tropsch process technology produces a range of hydrocarbon that often requires additional refining and conversion to produce finished transportation fuels, where MTG technology produces products that can be readily used as transportation fuels.
  • Low technical and project risk. All of the processes required to produce methanol from coal, coke or natural gas are well proven and have been installed worldwide. Combining ExxonMobil’s MTG technology with a proven methanol-production scheme provides a route to synthetic fuel from a variety of feed sources with minimal technical and project execution risk.
  • Process simplicity and scalability. The MTG process uses a conventional gas phase fixed bed reactor that is simple to operate and can be readily scaled to the desired size from 2,500 B/D to more than 20,000 B/D. In the first application in New Zealand, the process was successfully scaled up from 4 BBL/D to 14,500 BBL/D.
  • Continued design innovation. The second generation of the technology design incorporated improvements that reduced capital cost by 10 percent to 15 percent, and ExxonMobil also continues to improve zeolite catalyst technology specifically for the MTG process with a dedicated MTG pilot plant facility in ExxonMobil’s EMRE Technical Center in New Jersey.

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Methanol to gasoline (MTG) – Proven process. Proven plants. Proven performance.

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