Every little helps Security of feedstock supply
2022 www.digitalrefining.com Vol 26 No 2 2021 Vol 13 No 2 2008
Catalyst for energy efficiency
Transition to net zero: steps to decarbonise the oil refining industry Marie Goret-Rana and Carl Keeley Johnson Matthey espite sig s in 2007 of a slowd wn in various sect rs of the economy, r fi ers remain a big play for prospective investors. It used to be conventional wisdom that higher fuel prices and a slowing economy would curb demand and increase supply, but for the past seven years
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©2022. The entire content of this publication is protected by copyright full details of which are available from the publishers. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system or transmitted in any form or by any means – electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording or otherwise – without the prior permission of the copyright owner. The opinions and views expressed by the authors in this publication are not necessarily those of the editor or publisher and while every care has been taken in the preparation of all material included in Petroleum Technology Quarterly and its supplements the publisher cannot be held responsible for any statements, opinions or views or for any inaccuracies. Returning to the value of recovered metals, this page in past years addressed the issue of rare earth metals, their sources (just one, really), and their prices inflating by multiple factors of ten when supplies became restricted. Catalyst suppliers responded in the best ways they could, including development of non-rare earth material. Is this a local crisis due for a repeat perf rmanc ? If so, the calculati n in favour of me als recovery is ertainly more straightforward. However, any expansion of the value chain (eg, ethylene-to-propylene via dehydrogenation) requires investment in catalytic-based process s, as discussed in the following articles authored by experts in the field of downstream process technology. PTQ wishes to extend its gratitude to the authors who provided editorial and responded to the Q&A published in this issue of PTQ Catalysis, as well as to those respondents who addressed the online questions (www.eptq.com) that addressed the specifics of certain reactor and catalytic issues of importance to the industry. Data quality obtained in refinery catalyst testing Tiago Vilela Avantium Catalysis Forming a sustainable catalyst partnership Michael Ross Evonik Non-catalytic processes are also playi g a significant role in the refiner’s ability to process whatever unconventional crude sources become available. For example, some refiners processing hi her volumes of resid and atmospheric tower bottoms have consid ed adding certain typ s of solvent-ext action processes i addition to overall improvements to crude unit ( g, vacuum tower revamp ) a d delayed coker op rations. Improvemen s in furnace technology, such as with olefin steam cracker operations, ave resulted n significant incr as s in worldwide ethyl ne capacity. 41 What is the value to a refiner of recover d met ls? A always in an assess- ment of the industry’s economics, answers are far from straightforward. Storing spent catalyst is an expense, landfilling even more so. Furthermore, simply burying the evidence could well have a detrimental impact on a refin- er’s reputation for environmental care. Who can calculate the potential for lost value in that case? The vagaries of metals trading might favour recovery this week, b t next week maybe ot. Kevin Siters surface ar k Al ea ancd egen atalyst contact 45 Low-cost mesoporous zeolites deliver catalytic benefits Kurt Du Mong and Danny Verboekend Zeopore Technologies So what, in process terms, is the route to recovery? The pages of PTQ have from time to time highlighted a well established business based on pyromet- allurgy, the process of roasting spent catalyst to recover precious metals such as platinum. One of our Q&A correspondents, on the other hand, draws atten- tion to the growing role of hydrometallurgy in metals recovery. In this case, lower-valued metals are leached from spent material. This is also an industrial process with a lengthy history. For example, a fair amount of the cobalt in cat- alysts emplo ed in desulphurisation originates in central Africa where linear heaps of mined ore are sprayed with concentrated sulphuric acid (which in turn is more likely than not produced from the output of a refinery’s or gas plant’s sulphur recovery unit). The resulting liquor is processed before pass- ing to the electrowinning plant where cobalt metal is recovered. 29 Study of CCRU first reformer reactor ΔP behaviour using multiple linear regression Ali Al Shehhi ADNOC T his 2021 issue of Catalysis features a Q&Asection that breaks all records for content. Warm thanks to our respondents for their insights, expertise, and news of developments. Indeed, special thanks to contributors affected by the recent ‘polar storm’ that in particular hit Texas, who found the time and opportunit to provide esponses. The l test extreme weather event to affect the states sharing th Gulf coastline will require some time for recovery, both personal and industrial. 35 Performance of titania based tail gas catalyst at start-up Bart Hereijgers Euro Support Environmental issues come to the fore in the replies to a question on the feasibility of recovering non-precious metals from spent catalyst (begin- ning on page 23). Is it economically worthwhile to glean the likes of nickel and cobalt, for instance, from refinery waste? Or is it best to take the simple landfill approach? Fiber based specialty catalyst material maximises No massive new s urces of e ergy are expected t com on s ream for the foreseeable futur . The world will remain dependent on oil d gas for decades to come even though the upstream i dustry faces increasing challenges in th discovery and production of new sources. In fact, some well-placed industry analysts think 2008 may be the y ar where there is no increase in crude supply at all from regions outside of OPEC. For this reason, we will continue to see significant investment in refinery upgrades despite surging costs — security of feedstock supply, albeit unconventional low-quality feedstock, takes precedence over the quality of feedstock supply. 50 Feedstock options such as biomass (for biofuels production), Canadian tar sands (for distillate production) and other types of unconventional crude sources require reactor technology that allows for the integration of these operations into existing process configurations. The quality of these types of feedstock are one important reason why a wider array of catalysts has been introduced into the market. For example, as refiner cut deeper into the vacuum tower, the concentration of metals in the VGO requires a properly designed guard bed system to protect active catalysts in the hydrocracker. The characteristics of feedstock with low API gravity (eg, <10), high metals, nitrogen and other undesirable components is one of the main reasons why hydrotreaters and hydrocrackers are becoming larger — to accommodate not only higher volumes of catalyst, but also a wider variety of catalyst with specific formulations. Co-processing renewable and recyclable feedstocks in the FCC unit Lucas Dorazio, Jian Shi and James Fu BASF Corporation Snehesh S Ail, Marco J Castaldi and Golam S Chowdhury The City College of New York 62 Recovering metals from refinery waste is more likely than open-plan ore leaching to require the approval of health and safety inspectors. In a process devised by the Indian Institute of Technology, spent catalyst is first roasted to around 700°C, then leached with acid before a sequence of chemical conver- sions produces a suitable electrolyte for metal recovery. If there is demand, the technology will emerge. 54 Cover Oil refinery that has not proved to be the case. While the rate of increase in world oil demand has declined since the surprising 4% surge in 2004, it nevertheless appears that demand beyond 2008 will grow, along with prices. It is a safe b t that rapidly increasing o l consumption by China, India and even the Middle East producers themselves will co tinue. It is also safe to assume that refinery and petrochemical conversion u it capacity will ne d to expand.
René G Gonzalez
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