NPRP-5 Cycle

Funding Agency

Project No


Project Duration

01-Dec-2012 to 01-Sep-2016

Total funding

$1,046,425.02 (Prof. Nimir portion: $720,000)

Project Title

Design of Synthetic Fuels and Value-added Chemicals Derived from Natural Gas via Combined Experimental and Process Investigation Methodology

Project Description

The aspiration of the State of Qatar on becoming the “Gas Capital of the World” led to the building of the largest Gas-to-Liquid (GTL) technology plants (Shell’s Pearl project and Sasol’s Oryx GTL plant) to produce hundreds of hydrocarbon products in the form of ultra-clean fuels and value-added chemicals. Even though synthetic fuels and chemicals obtained from GTL have similar carbon ranges as those obtained from crude oil, they differ in their structure and physical/chemical properties. This research project was focused on developing an integrated methodology to design mixture/blend of synthetic hydrocarbons derived from GTL by identifying the most suitable chemicals for blending, and produce blended products that satisfy specific product needs. For this purpose, we employed an advanced property-integration tools for systematic, reliable, and rapid screening of these blends while analyzing specified physical/chemical properties that of importance to the certification in these fuels. The measurements of these properties have been conducted in a world-class fuel characterization facility at Texas A&M University Qatar Fuel Characterization Lab (FCL) following a well-established Data Quality Management procedure while the computational activities have been carried out using sophisticated process integration methods developed in the Technical University of Denmark and Texas A&M University main campus in College Station. The modeling results was found to be in good agreement with the experimental profiles and have been used to design tailored version of jet fuels, gasoline and diesel fuel fractions that have superior properties compared to those obtained from crude oil. The engine and combustion behaviors of selected formulated fuels blends have also been verified in the Engine Research Lab of Texas A&M Qatar. The obtained results are promising and proved that the methodology developed in this project is capable of producing high quality fuels obtained from GTL and other sources. These methods will be extended to selectivity improve the properties of certain fuel fractions to meet the highest environmental standard for ultra-clean fuels and chemicals. These achievements are supposed to support Qatar leadership in the production of ultra-clean fuels for the global energy market.

Major Accomplishments


The First Place Best Paper Award in the 4th International Gas Processing Conference (with Ibrahim Al-Nuaimi (Master Student) and Professor Mahmoud El-Halwagi (November 2014).

Journal PAPERS

1.   *Al-Nuami I., Bhra M., Selam M., Chaudhary H., El-Halwagi, N. I., Elbashir, N. O. (2016) “A Property Integration Approach to  Optimizing Jet Fuel Blends from Petroleum- and GTL- Based Fuels” Chemical Engineering & Technology.

2.   *Kalakul S., Hussain R., Elbashir N., Gani R. (2015) “VPPD Lab -The Chemical Product Simulator” Computer Aided Chemical Engineering, 37, 1415-1420.

3.  *Elmalik, E.; Raza, B.; Warrag, S.; Ramadhan, H.; Alborzi, E.; Elbashir, N. O. (2014) “Role of Hydrocarbon Building Blocks on GTL Derived Synthetic Jet Fuel Characteristics”  Industrial & Engineering Chemistry Research .53 (5), 1856–1865.

4.  *Noureldin, M.; Elbashir, N. O.; El-Halwagi, M. E. E. (2014) “Optimization and Selection of Reforming Approaches for Syngas Generation from Natural/Shale Gas”. Industrial & Engineering Chemistry Research 53 (5), 1841–1855.

 5.  *Noureldin M.; Buping Bao, Elbashir N. O.; El-Halwagi M. (2014) “Benchmarking, insights, and potential for improvement of Fischer-Tropsch-based Biomass-to-Liquid technology” Clean Technologies and Environmental Policy. 16(1) 37-44.

6.   *Khouderledin, H.; El-Halwagi, M.; Elbashir N. O. (2013) “A Property-Integration Approach to Solvent Screening and Conceptual Design of Solvent-Extraction Systems for Recycling Used Lubricating Oils”. Clean Technologies and Environmental Policy. 15(1), 35-44.

Conference PAPERS

1.  *Elmalik, E. E.; Hussain, R.; Al-Nuaimi, I.; Warrag, S.; Elbashir, N. O. (2013) “Effect of carbon number on properties of synthetic gas-to-liquid jet fuel blends” Preprints – American Chemical Society, Division of Energy & Fuels. 58(1), pages 18-19 (presented by Mr. Husain).

 2.  *Al-Nuaimi, I., Elbashir, N. O. (2013) “Potentials for GTL derived synthetic jet fuels in the aviation industry” Preprints – American Chemical Society, Division of Energy & Fuels. 58(2), pages 331-333.

 3.  *Blank, J., Hussian, R, Elbashir, N. O. (2013) “Modeling of Heat and Mass Transfer Limitations in a Fischer-Tropsch Fixed Bed Reactor: Comparisons between Supercritical Phase and Gas Phase” Proceedings of 10th Natural Gas Conversion Symposium “Gas Conversion the Clean Energy of the Future” Doha, Qatar (January 2013); Topic 2 Synfuels 2 pages 1-2 (presented by Dr. Blank).

4.   *Elfatih E., Elbashir, N. O. “Characterization of Synthetic Gas-to-Liquid Jet Fuel Blends: Hydrocarbon Chain Length Effect on Fuel Properties” Proceedings of 10th Natural Gas Conversion Symposium “Gas Conversion the Clean Energy of the Future” Doha, Qatar (January 2013); Topic 2 Synfuels 2 pages 1-2 (presented by Mr. Elmalik

 5.   *Noureldin M., Elbashir, N. O., El-Halwagi, E. “Thermodynamic Modeling and Optimization of Tri-Reforming Reactors for Syngas Generation” Proceedings of 10th Natural Gas Conversion Symposium “Gas Conversion the Clean Energy of the Future” Doha, Qatar (January 2013); Topic 1 Production & Purification pages 1-2 (presented by Mr. Noureldin).


Ibrahim Al-Nuaimi (MSc): “Characterization of Synthetic Jet Fuels Derived from Gas-to-Liquid Technology” graduated summer 2013 (currently working in RasGas in Qatar) co-chaired with Professor Mahmoud El-Halwagi).

 Saad Intikhab: “An Experimentally Verified Approach to Design Efficient Gasoline and Diesel Fuel Surrogates” graduated spring 2016 from Texas A&M University at Qatar

Andrew Yueh: “Black Box Modeling of Hydrocarbon Physiochemical Properties and its Approach to Fuel Optimization” graduated spring 2016 from Texas A&M University, College Station, Texas, USA.

Ph. D. Students

Sawitree Kalakul: “A Systematic Approach for the Design of Integrated Energy and Chemicals Production”, (co-chaired with Professor Rafiqul Gani at DTU, Denmark,)