Catalysis 2024 Issue

processes such as hydrocracking, isomerisation, and aro- matics production. Despite concerns about the rare earth supply chain, rare earth-modified zeolites improve catalytic performance in various refinery processes while implementing advanced characterisation techniques, such as in situ spectroscopy and microscopy, to gain a deeper understanding of the zeo- lite-catalysed reactions. Further research and development in the field of zeolite catalysts are ongoing, with the aim of addressing specific challenges in refinery processes and improving overall efficiency. It is advisable to refer to the latest scientific literature, patents, and industry publications for the most up-to-date information on zeolite improve- ments in the refining sector. Catalyst pilot plants Hydroprocessing catalysts focus on improving activity, selectivity, stability, and other factors. For this focus, hydro- treating and hydrocracking technology may benefit from nanostructured catalysts due to their high surface area and reactivity, leading to cleaner fuels and reduced environ- mental impact. Going as far back as 10 years ago, consid- eration has been given to the nanostructuring of industrially relevant hydrotreating catalysts as potential hydrogen evo- lution reactor (HER) electrocatalysts, but additional testing is forthcoming. The ability to adapt to changing catalyst formulations and testing requirements is essential. Modernised pilot plants should be flexible and easily adjustable to accommodate different types of hydrotreating catalysts and testing condi- tions. Some aspects of the modernisation of pilot plants for testing hydrotreating catalysts involve advanced reactors, monitoring systems, and analytical tools that provide more accurate and detailed data on catalyst performance. Modernising pilot plants often involves integrating data analytics tools to process and analyse the vast amount of data generated during testing. Upgrading pilot plants may include improvements to scale-up capabilities, allowing for a more seamless transition from laboratory-scale experi- ments to larger industrial processes. This is important for ensuring that the catalysts perform consistently across dif- ferent scales. Single-atom benefits Single-atom catalysis is emerging as a revolutionary trend in the field. This approach involves dispersing individual metal atoms on a support material, maximising the efficiency of the catalyst. The advantages include improved catalytic activity, selectivity, and reduced metal usage. In petrochemical appli- cations, single-atom catalysis holds promise for achieving higher performance and resource efficiency. Single-atom catalysts (SACs) can deliver higher catalytic activity due to the efficient utilisation of active sites. Each individual metal atom serves as a catalytic site, leading to a higher surface area and better access for reactant mole- cules. This can result in improved reaction rates and overall efficiency, including: • Reduced metal loading • Selectivity and product purity

metal laden feeds. Using generic economics, in one trial we estimated use of trademarked PARAGON catalyst resulted in $0.65/bbl of value delivery which translates into $14MM per year for an average size FCC.” Other important zeolite-based catalyst advances include improved thermal stability and resistance to coke forma- tion. Coke deposition on catalyst surfaces can deactivate them over time, so enhancing stability is crucial for pro- longing the catalyst’s lifespan. In parallel, the utilisation of ion exchange methods to modify the zeolite structure can involve incorporating different metal ions or other elements to enhance catalytic properties and improve performance in specific reactions. In addition, introducing mesopores into zeolite structures to enhance mass transfer proper- ties can help mitigate diffusion limitations and improve the catalyst’s performance in large-molecule conversion processes. Acid sites in zeolites play a crucial role in many refinery processes, and tailoring their strength and distribution can lead to improved catalytic performance while explor- ing innovative synthesis techniques. These can include microwave-assisted synthesis or template-free methods, to produce zeolites with unique structures and properties that may offer advantages in specific applications. ZSM-5 zeolites are widely used for their catalytic properties in Against a backdrop of evolving technologies, refinery operations are dominated by reactor and catalyst technology


Catalysis 2024

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