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CORAL™ FCC catalysts

Improving residue FCC unit performance through enhanced catalyst accessibility. Mass transfer limitations. Many FCC units experience losses in conversion and bottoms selectivity as a result of mass-transfer limitations. These are due to the problems that high-molecular-weight, sterically hindered feed molecules experience when diffusing into catalyst particles. Albemarle offers the breakthrough catalyst CORAL to overcome this problem, especially in residue FCC units.

Root causes
Catalyst-particle diffusion limitations typically have multiple root causes. The most common include short-contact time operations in which the oil riser residence time is less than 2–3 sec; running heavy feedstocks; and high concentrations of contaminant metals on the equilibrium catalyst.

High concentrations of contaminants such as iron, calcium, nickel, and vanadium form deposits on the catalyst particle surfaces, which block the entrance pores. A few extreme cases have been observed in which eutectic melts have formed glazed surfaces. These deposits create barriers to the diffusion of the high-molecular-weight, sterically hindered feed components into the catalyst particle and result in reduced heavy oil conversion.

Empirical observations consistently demonstrate that many refiners experience a critical accessibility level. This critical level is extremely unit specific and is a function of feed quality, feed–catalyst contact efficiency, riser residence time, equilibrium catalyst metal levels and regenerator conditions. Operating with accessibility levels below this critical point results in conversion losses, reduced motor fuel production and increased slurry yield.

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