Light olefins as one the most important building blocks in chemical industry can be produced via Fischer–Tropsch synthesis (FTS) from syngas. FT synthesis conducted at high temperature would lead to light paraffins, carbon dioxide, methane, and C5+ longer chain hydrocarbons. The present work focuses on providing a critical review on the light olefin production using Fischer– Tropsch synthesis. The effects of metals, promoters and supports as the most influential parameters on the catalytic performance of catalysts are discussed meticulously. Fe and Co as the main active metals in FT catalysts are investigated in terms of pore size, crystal size, and crystal phase for obtaining desirable light olefin selectivity. Larger pore size of Fe-based catalysts is suggested to increase olefin selectivity via suppressing 1-olefin readsorption and secondary reactions. Iron carbide as the most probable phase of Fe-based catalysts is proposed for light olefin generation via FTS. Smaller crystal size of Co active metal leads to higher olefin selectivity. Hexagonal close-packed (HCP) structure of Co has higher FTS activity than face-centered cubic (FCC) structure. Transition from Co to Co3C is mainly proposed for formation of light olefins over Co-based catalysts. Moreover, various catalysts’ deactivation routes are reviewed. Additionally, techno-economic assessment of FTS plants in terms of different costs including capital expenditure and minimum fuel selling price are presented based on the most recent literature. Finally, the potential for global environmental impacts associated with FTS plants including atmospheric and toxicological impacts is considered via lifecycle assessment (LCA).

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Published in Reactions, v. 2, issue 3.

© 2021 by the authors. Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland.

This article is an open access article distributed under the terms and conditions of the Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY) license (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/).

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This research was funded by Canada Research Chair (CRC) Program and Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC).