Catalyst trial for maximum conversion FCC (TIA)

Fluidised catalytic cracking (FCC) catalyst technology is continuously innovating, with suppliers introducing a couple of new catalyst technologies to the market every year.

Alexis Shackleford & Melissa Clough
BASF Corporation, Catalyst Division

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Article Summary

Still, some innovative technologies have stood the test of time. One such catalyst is BASF NaphthaMax FCC catalyst, introduced in 2001. In 2001, NaphthaMax provided step-out performance for activity, liquid yield, coke selectivity, and bottoms conversion for gas oil units. The catalyst is based on the innovative Distributed Matrix Structure Platform (DMS), which has an open pore structure to allow for diffusion of large molecules in (for bottoms upgrading) and allows the products to diffuse out (to limit over cracking). Along with using exposed zeolite to selectively crack the hydrocarbon molecules, the platform allows for a highly active and flexible catalyst that can meet a wide range of needs. While the name ‘naphtha’ implies maximising gasoline, the catalyst also gives excellent liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) yields and bottoms upgrading to meet today’s market drivers.

A maximum conversion unit using BASF NaphthaMax catalyst chose to trial another catalyst provider’s newest technology offering. This technology aimed to improve bottoms upgrading and to increase the light cycle oil (LCO) yield. The results of this commercial trial are summarised at constant conversion in Table 1. In operation with the competitive technology, the unit saw a drop in activity of three numbers for the same catalyst addition rate and required a higher riser outlet temperature (ROT) of 15°F to maintain conversion compared to NaphthaMax. As a result, the FCC produced a higher dry gas make of 0.40 wt% and a higher coke yield for the same conversion. Due to the higher yield of dry gas and coke, the LPG + gasoline yield decreased. Comparison of NaphthaMax with competitive technology was slightly worse compared to NaphthaMax.

This summary illustrates that in the wake of new technologies on the market, NaphthaMax still provides refiners with cutting edge results for maximum conversion FCC units. With excellent activity retention and coke selectivity, liquid products prove to drive favourable economics for the refinery when using NaphthaMax catalyst. Additionally, the tuneability of the catalyst to go between maximum gasoline and maximum LPG makes it very versatile in today’s ever-changing market landscape.

This short case study originally appeared in PTQ's Technology In Action feature - Q4 2016 issue.

For more information: Alexis.Shackleford@basf.com and Melissa.Clough@basf.com

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