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New catalyst boosts liquid-fuel yield from heavy hydrocarbons

By Chemical Engineering |

A new zeolite catalyst that increases yields of light cycle oil (LCO) from high molecular weight “bottoms” hydrocarbons in petroleum fluid catalytic cracking (FCC) units was commercialized last month by Grace-Davison, an operating segment of W.R. Grace & Co. (Columbia, Md.; www.grace.com). Observed gains in LCO (boiling point 430–650°F) yields of up to 6% are significant to petroleum refiners seeking to improve production of valuable liquid products, such as transportation fuels and chemical feedstocks, from heavy hydrocarbons (HCs), says product manager Rosann Schiller. Known as Midas 300, the USY- (ultra- stable Y-type) zeolite-containing catalyst derives its enhanced activity from an increase in mesoporosity of the catalyst matrix. Mesoporosity refers to pore sizes in the range of 100 to 600 Å — critical for allowing free diffusion of heavy HCs into the catalyst. Greater mesoporosity improves overall selectivity by converting coke precursors into liquid product, explains Schiller. Enhanced catalyst mesoporosity, coupled with more acidic-active sites and pore structures that blunt the poisoning effects of contaminant metals (Fe, Ca, Ni, V), improves the selectivity of the catalyst in gasoline-…
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