Hydrocracking Technologies – Sending heavy naphtha for catalytic reformers to hike BTX

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The use of hydrocracking to make aromatics has also been a major focus of commercial work over the past several years. In the US, Valero Energy’s chairman and CEO Joe Gorder said, “We’ve talked in the past about the possibility to take some of the streams that we’re producing today (from a hydrocracker) and high grade them by legging them into the petrochemical business. That’s something that’s probably a little bit longer term, but it is something that we’re actively looking at these days.”

Hengli Petrochemical Co. has selected Axens to supply technology for a new 400 000 b/d refinery/petrochemical complex located at Changxing Island in China’s Liaoning Province. The refinery will produce Euro 5 compliant gasoline and diesel along with naphtha which will be fed to an integrated aromatics complex to produce high purity paraxylene. Axens will license several of its technologies, including ebullated bed H-OilRC resid hydrocracking technology, HyK hydrocracking units, aromatising CCR units, two parallel aromatics chains using Eluxyl 1.15 technology for paraxylene purification combined with Oparis technology for isomerisation of other C8 aromatics to paraxylene.

An unidentified grassroots refining/petrochemical complex in China has contracted Chevron Lummus Global (CLG) to license a number of its technologies. These include Isocracking, Isotreating and delayed coking technologies to produce a variety of products including diesel, jet fuel and heavy naphtha.

The heavy naphtha will be fed to the petrochemical complex as feed for a BP paraxylene opex-advantaged crystallisation technology to produce paraxylene.

A number of hydrocracking catalyst developers have also introduced new heavy naphtha maximisation catalysts in recent years. Heavy naphtha production from the hydrocracker has become more popular recently given expected long-term decline in demand for diesel and the ability of heavy naphtha from the hydrocracker to be fed to a catalytic reforming unit to yield high octane reformate for the gasoline pool or BTX: for instance, Albemarle’s KC 2715 hydrocracking catalyst, Axens’ Craken-Flex, Criterion Catalysts & Technologies’ Z-863, and Haldor Topsøe’s TK-971 zeolitic catalyst.

Source: PTQ Q1 2018

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