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Nanosized zeolite catalyst shows promise for improving naphtha cracking

By Tetsuo Satoh |

A naphtha-cracking process with improved yield, reduced coking and longer catalyst life is being developed in a five-year Japanese project led by professor Takashi Tatsumi at the Tokyo Institute of Technology (TiTech; www.titech.ac.jp), with participation from the National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology (AIST), Hokkaido University, Yokohama National University, three petrochemical companies and an engineering company. The NEDO (New Energy and Industrial Technology Development Org.; Kawasaki) project, “Basic Technology Development of Revolutionary Naphtha Cracking Process Using Catalyst,” stated earlier this year and has already achieved promising results. Using a nano-sized zeolite catalyst and a small reactor system, the researchers have shown that they can increase the propylene-to-ethylene ratio to 1.0, compared to a maximum of 0.7 achieved in conventional systems. Compared to thermal cracking, a 10% increase in “valuable” products, such as ethylene, propylene, butanes and BTX (benzene, toluene and xylenes) was achieved. Two basic catalysts were selected from 27 candidate zeolites, and fabricated as nano-sized particles with 100–200-nm dia. — one-tenth the size of commercial…
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