Catalysis 2024 Issue

selectivity to chemicals, new integrated refinery design for crude oil to chemicals, steam cracker improvements, and other unit improvements (reforming units, propane dehy - drogenation [PDH] units, methanol-to-olefin processes, and others). Each of these has specific process conditions and/or spe - cific catalysts targeted for the units (from market catalysts to proprietary catalysts, and diverse types of materials/ zeolites – ZSM-5 (MFI), SAPO-34, Beta (BEA) and USY/ REY (FAU) type zeolites) to meet specific refiner’s petro - chemical yield targets. The BASF refinery catalyst team continuously focuses on understanding the new market needs to create technolo- gies to support this transformation to create petrochemical feedstocks from the FCC and other refinery processes. Besides a market demand shift, we are also seeing a shift to using more alternative feedstocks (renewables, pyoils, recycled materials) to reduce the carbon footprint. From an FCC catalyst standpoint, BASF has introduced technologies to address the need for more petrochemical feedstocks (propylene, olefins) and to support the use of alternative feedstocks in these processes. Today, BASF has examples of using FCC catalysts (maximum propylene solution) in commercial units to maximise propylene with both resid, VGO feedstocks and using alternative feed - stocks. Additionally, in North America and the Middle East, we see commercial use of new catalysts (Fourte, Fourtune, Fortitude, and newer materials) to drive both propylene and butylene yields. These catalysts help achieve both chemical and feedstock requirements for alkylation processes, supporting their fuel octane needs. The catalyst technologies needed for maximising petrochemical feed production from FCC units have emerged through rigorous research, development, and technology application improvements. From this work, BASF has found that FCC catalysts require an integrated design approach to the catalyst materials. Use of multiple catalyst zeolite types and different functional materials is essential for the best performance when targeting petro - chemical feedstock production. Additionally, ensuring the flexibility of an FCC unit to accept changes to FCC catalyst formulation or to allow rapid adjustments in olefin additive (ZIP, ZEAL) use enables profit optimisation. Fourte, Fourtune, Fortitude, ZEAL and ZIP are marks of BASF. A Ray Fletcher, Chief Technology Officer, Gasolfin BV, The role of olefins is fundamental to industry today and is the focus of this response. Inovacat believes that this ques - tion is best addressed in three distinct phases. Phase One addresses the immediate future, extending over the next three to five years. Phase Two addresses the medium- range future of the next 15-20 years. Phase Three refers to post-2040 operations. Phase One will be achieved through naphtha and pro - pane conversion assets presently being operated by refiners today, namely FCC and PDH operations for maximum pro - pylene and steam crackers for maximum ethylene. The FCC




39.8 40.5




32.1 32.1




LSR Pentanes Butane Pyrolysis




Figure 1 Typical Gasolfin propylene yields

50 55 60 65 70 75 80 90 85



70.7 72.0





LSR Pentanes





Figure 2 Typical Gasolfin total olefin yields

propylene yield may be increased via changes to the base catalyst, ZSM-5 additives, and operating the FCC at increased severity. The FCC catalyst may be optimised by reduced rare earth concentrations for reduced hydrogen transfer reactions and with increased zeolite content for activity retention. The PDH unit will require operating at an increased feed rate or debottlenecking. The steam cracker propylene yield is dependent upon the amount of light straight run naphtha (LSR) being charged to the unit. Steam crackers currently feeding LSR to the unit may consider increasing the fresh feed rate by debottlenecking the charge heater. This may be achieved if a portion of the pentane recycle was removed from the feed slate, assuming an alternative outlet for pentane is found. It is believed that most refin - ers intending to begin, or those continuing the transition from fuels to petrochemicals will have already made these changes and so may be limited in the extent of further ole - fin production. Phase Two begins soon and extends for the following 15-20 years. The transition from fuels to petrochemicals is expected to continue with the larger declines observed with gasoline, marginal declines in diesel, and increases in jet fuels.1 At the same time, refiners need to reduce green - house gas (GHG) emissions to achieve 2030/2050 targets. Alternative technologies include options such as high severity FCC, shifts from FCC towards hydrocracking and steam cracking, and many others. Fundamental changes may also be possible with crude-to-chemicals technolo - gies being developed, such as Lummus’ Thermal Crude to


Catalysis 2024

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