Grace scientist Yuying Shu’s discovery now enhancing FCC catalyst performance and sustainability

W. R. Grace & Co, today announced that Principal Scientist Yuying Shu has been awarded its highest honor for her discovery of the now patented Grace Stable Activity Improvement (GSI) Rare Earth (RE) technology. This significant innovation improves catalyst performance while reducing CO2 emissions for the company’s Fluid Catalytic Cracking (FCC) refinery customers. Grace, headquartered in Columbia, Md., is the world’s leading supplier of FCC catalysts and additives.

Dr. Shu’s work on this discovery spans nearly a decade and the chemistry is described in a 2015 paper in the peer-reviewed journal, Topics in Catalysis. Shu demonstrated a significant improvement in catalytic activity when RE elements with smaller ionic radii are used to make a more stable REUSY catalyst (Rare Earth Ultra Stable Y-zeolite). Compared to conventional RE-stabilized zeolites, GSI-stabilized zeolite has better surface area retention and requires lower input to achieve equal catalytic activity.

The company’s Prime technology, based on this innovation, has been commercialized in more than 20 FCC units, raising the performance bar within two of Grace’s most successful and established global catalyst platforms. ACHIEVE® 400 Prime limits undesirable hydrogen transfer reactions, delivers maximum butylene selectivity, and increases FCC yields of valuable gasoline range olefins. IMPACT® Prime provides improved zeolite stabilization and leading coke selectivity in applications with high levels of nickel and vanadium contaminant metals.

Dr. Shu’s patent has thus far received 18 citations. More important to Grace customers, these FCC catalysts now have delivered on their early promise, demonstrating superior commercial performance in refineries around the world.

Grace’s Prime catalyst technology not only results in performance improvements, it also delivers sustainability benefits. The higher catalyst activity per unit of surface area resulting from Dr. Shu’s innovation allows for more efficient utilization of raw materials and results in less effluent from Grace manufacturing plants. In addition, Prime technology reduces coke and dry gas yields, thereby resulting in lower CO2 emissions from the refinery and the conversion of more of each barrel of feedstock into valuable products. ACHIEVE® 400 Prime allows the production of more alkylate, which improves engine efficiency and lowers CO2 emissions per mile.

Grace President and Chief Executive Officer Hudson La Force congratulated Dr. Shu on winning the company’s most prestigious scientific award, the Grace Award for Technical Excellence (GATE).

“Yuying’s breakthrough work is a great example of our commitment to innovation that leads directly to delivering value to our customers,” said La Force. “For our customers, this means helping them achieve both higher performance and sustainability goals. Our Prime series of FCC catalysts do both very well, thanks in large measure to Yuying’s discovery.”

About Principal Scientist Shu
Dr. Shu has worked in the development of FCC catalysts and additives for 14 years and has filed 30 patent applications, many of which have been granted, including seven in the United States. She has published 71 peer-reviewed journal articles and is the recipient of many awards including Maryland’s Top Innovator of the Year for 2010, as well as both the Procter and Gamble Prize and the President’s Prize at the Chinese Academy of Science.

Before joining Grace in 2006, Yuying was Associate Professor and Group Leader at Dalian Institute of Chemical Physics. She honed her research skills through appointments at the University of Delaware, Virginia Tech, and Hokkaido University. Dr Shu earned her Ph.D. at Dalian Institute of Chemical Physics, Chinese Academy of Sciences. Her major research interest is the development of new catalysts and new chemical reactions.


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