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New process converts refinery offgas into gasoline

By Mary Page Bailey |

A process technology that upgrades offgas from petroleum refineries has been commercialized by Siluria Technologies Inc. (San Francisco, Calif.; www.siluria.com) and Wood (Aberdeen, Scotland; www.woodplc.com). According to Siluria, the new Modus technology’s ability to chemically convert refinery offgases into high-quality gasoline products is an industry first. Other technologies to treat offgases involve more complex purification and cryogenic separation steps that result in products that can present logistical or economical challenges to the petroleum refinery.

The Modus process (diagram) converts light olefins contained in the offgas from refinery operations, such as a fluid catalytic cracker (FCC) or a delayed coker unit (DCU), into a gasoline blendstock. In the Modus process, offgas is pre-treated using compression and simple guard beds. It is then fed to a reaction system, which oligomerizes the offgas’ olefin content into longer hydrocarbon chains. This reactor system, which can include three to five reactors, depending on the desired capacity, consists of parallel adiabatic fixed-bed reactors that contain a proprietary catalyst. The reactors run continuously in a swing or cyclic mode, meaning that one reactor can be kept offline to regenerate the catalyst while the others operate in swing mode. Since the Modus catalyst was specially designed for compatibility with offgas streams, the technology is simple to integrate into most refinery settings. The Modus process can also result in reduced overall site emissions, since combustion of unsaturated offgas components is no longer necessary.

In tests at Siluria’s pilot facilities, the process has been shown to produce liquid product output of several gallons per day. Siluria and Wood used this pilot system to develop the commercialized modular engineering design package. The partners are now in discussion with multiple refining companies and plan to commence pre-FEED (front-end engineering design) studies in the first half of 2018.

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