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Improved hydrocracking

leading-edge Catalysts coupled with outstanding Technical service. Criterion Catalysts & Technologies (Criterion) offers a broad range of zeolite catalysts to satisfy a variety of refinery hydrocracking objectives. We also provide the feed pretreatment catalysts that are vital to preserving the function of the main cracking catalysts.

Hydrocracking is replacing fluidised catalytic cracking as the refinery conversion process of choice. The reasons are simple: the shift from gasoline to diesel in many parts of the world; the flexibility of the hydrocracking process, which makes it relatively easy to alter the product slate to meet changing market demands; the ability of the process to make high-quality transport fuels, particularly ultra-low-sulphur diesel, directly from difficult-to-process feeds; and, finally, the ease with which hydrocrackers can be integrated with ethylene crackers in the petrochemicals sector.

The performance of hydrocracking units is fundamentally dependent on the zeolite catalyst used to break down the heavier oil molecules. However, as feed quality generally declines, it is becoming increasingly common to find units whose performance, notably run length, is limited by the decline in activity of the feed pretreatment catalyst, the role of which is to protect the zeolite from harmful sulphur and nitrogen compounds and trace metals.

We work closely with refiners to select the most appropriate hydrocracking and pretreatment catalysts to meet their individual process needs.

This involves a detailed analysis in which reference will be made to feedstock quality; the desired product slate; the design of the hydrocracker and its normal operating regime; the amount of hydrogen available; and the target cycle length. Process modelling and pilot plant trials are part of the toolbox used to pinpoint the best catalysts for individual hydrocrackers and also to develop the most effective unit operating strategy.

Criterion customers benefit from the support of knowledgeable and experienced technical service engineers at every stage of the process cycle.

The technical support available to customers goes beyond advising on the selection of suitable catalysts. We routinely provide consultation during catalyst activation and, thereafter, we help customers with information as they seek to optimise the performance of their hydrocrackers. Using our Cat-Check knowledge management system, we can help them to build a clear picture of the way the unit is performing as the process cycle  develops. This helps to customers to optimise operating conditions to best effect, understand process anomalies and troubleshoot any process problems quickly and efficiently. We are always looking for ways to provide information that will help to increase a unit’s profit margin.

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