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Revamped hydrotreater co-processes light gas oil and tall oil derivative to produce ULSD

By Gerald Parkinson |

Co-processing of biomass-derived feed with petroleum feed for the production of diesel fuel is a tricky business, given that the former (unlike petroleum) contains oxygen. The oxygenates can be removed by hydrotreating, which converts the biofeed to normal paraffins, but this consumes large amounts of H2 and the exothermic reactions can cause excessive temperatures. Also, biomass contains acids that can cause corrosion in the hydrotreater and other equipment. A process that is said to overcome these problems has been developed by Haldor Topsøe A/S (Lyngby, Denmark; www.topsoe.com) and is being commercialized in a revamped hydrotreater that will be started up shortly by Preem AB (Gothenburg, Sweden). The plant will produce 10,000 bbl/d of ultra-low-sulfur diesel fuel (ULSD) from a mixture of light gas oil (LGO) and up to 30% raw tall diesel (RTD). RTD is produced by transesterification of tall oil, a byproduct of kraft pulping. This converts most of the oil’s free fatty acids to fatty acid methyl esters (FAMEs), but resin acids are unconverted and can cause corrosion, says Rasmus Egeberg, Topsøe’s project manager for distillate hydrotreating. In Topsøe’s process, part of the RTD is mixed with the…
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