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April 30, 2013

Commercial debut of the AlkyClean solid-acid alkylation process

Gerald Ondrey

CB&I (The Woodlands, Tex.; has been awarded a contract by Shandong Wonfull Petrochemical Group Co. to provide the license and processing engineering design for a first-of-a-kind solid-acid alkylation unit to be located in China. The unit will be capable of producing 100,000 ton/yr of alkylate and is scheduled for startup in early 2014.

The unit will use the AlkyClean process technology partnered by CB&I's Technology operating group, Albemarle Corp. (Orangeburg, S.C.; and Neste Oil (Espoo, Finland;

"CB&I is excited to be working on the first-ever commercialization of a solid-acid alkylation unit in the world," says Daniel McCarthy, president of CB&I's Technology operating group. "Alkylate has high octane and virtually no sulfur, olefins and aromatics. This makes it an ideal gasoline blend stock for every refiner to meet the upcoming stringent Tier 3 and Euro-V gasoline pool specifications in an environmentally safe manner." 

The solid acid catalyst for the AlkyClean process is supplied by Albemarle. The AlkyClean process employs a robust zeolite catalyst formulation coupled with a novel reactor processing scheme to yield a high quality alkylate product. The total installed cost of the facility is significantly lower than current liquid-acid processes, such as HF and sulfuric acid, says Albemarle. With no liquid acids or chlorides in the system, no product treatment or disposal of acids or chlorides is required. The lack of corrosive acids in the system and the mild operating conditions allow for carbon steel construction, while limited pretreatment and no post treatment result in fewer OSBL equipment pieces, says the company. (For a related process, see Chem. Eng., May 2002;

Shandong Wonfull Petrochemical Group Co., Ltd. (Wonfull) is a large scale corporation with a total processing capacity of 12-million ton/yr, producing clean gasoline and diesel, liquefied petroleum gas and propylene as its primary products. In addition, it has an established railway and road transportation infrastructure as well as its own logistics systems. 


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