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Drop-in catalyst generates more jet fuel and full range diesel (TIA)

A North American refiner was producing ultra low sulphur diesel (ULSD) in a 800 psig hydrotreater.

Dean E. Parker,
ExxonMobil Catalysts and Technology Licensing
Article Summary
Meeting pour point and cloud point specifications required the refiner to blend kerosene into the hydrotreater feed, resulting in downgrading jet fuel to diesel and significant giveaway on the product end point. The refiner’s goal was to increase profitability by eliminating this end point giveaway to meet the hydraulic constraints of the unit. (see Figure 1).

Introduce proprietary technology and services
ExxonMobil applied its technical expertise and owner- operator experience while working closely with the refiner to analyse the situation and identify the best possible solution. Two options were proposed:

1. Optimise placement of MIDW catalyst within the reactor, which enables production of high cetane and low cloud and pour point diesel at higher yields, eliminating the need for kerosene blending to meet cold flow properties.

2. Use an additional reactor to provide additional flexibility. After evaluating both options, the refiner chose to optimise placement of MIDW catalyst in the existing reactor (Option 1 in Figure 2).
Improved profitability and elimination of giveaway
The implementation of ExxonMobil’s robust catalyst solution enabled feed rebalancing, resulting in completely eliminating the end point reduction issue. The lighter kerosene component was routed to a separate, pre-existing HDT unit to make jet, which allowed the AGO end point to be increased, thereby netting more higher value products. Pour point remained at -5.3°F and cloud point remained at 0.0°F (on-spec). This led to a jet fuel yield increase and an AGO upgrade to diesel, resulting in estimated annual benefits greater than $20 million/y (see Figure 3).

This short case study originally appeared in PTQ's Technology In Action feature - Q4 2018 issue.

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