IRPC Operations: Catalyst specialists discuss optimization options

On Day 1 of IRPC Operations, several presentations focused on optimization and troubleshooting solutions for equipment utilizing catalyst. Brief summaries of these presentations follow. Check out the on-demand versions of the presentations for in-depth insights and additional solutions from the speakers!

Avoiding pitfalls when upscaling reactors. Bamrung Sungnoen, Consultant & Process Technology Engineer for SCG Chemicals Co., discussed how to avoid common pitfalls when upscaling catalytic fixed-bed reactors. Fixed-bed reactors are widely used for heterogenous catalytic reactions in fixed-bed reactors. Sungnoen explained how the shift of the rate controlling step, which is an often-overlooked part of the process, is a common pitfall during new process and product development.

The most effective approach, Sungnoen explained, is to "begin with the end in mind" while taking into account the various differences in reactor scale on the production capacity versus rate-controlling mechanism, and operating temperature versus rate-controlling mechanism. Catalyst stability and deactivation must also be addressed to achieve catalyst performance targets.

Mitigating HCN formation in FCC. Following Sungnoen's presentation, Steve Challis, FCC Process Consultant for Chalcat, spoke to the IRPC Operations audience on behalf of co-author Stefano Riva, EMEA Technical Service Manager for BASF, about hydrogen cyanide (HCN) formation in FCC and how to mitigate it. Challis explained how processing poorer or different-quality feeds in the FCC can lead to new challenges, primarily higher coke make and higher feed nitrogen levels, which can cause gas plant corrosion problems.

Ultimately, Challis explained, FCC profitability can be improved by increased heavy feed processing—for example, if enabled by a catalyst change, even if HCN production and risk of wet H2S damage is increased. This risk can be mitigated by suitable application of cyanide monitoring and corrosion control techniques, as well as the adjustment of FCC operating parameters to minimize HCN production. FCC regenerator design improvements may also be available to reduce HCN production and further expand the operating envelope.

Improving biodiesel yield. Dr. Sara Green, Customer Solutions Advisor for ExxonMobil, spoke at the end of Day 1 about improving diesel yield with bio-isomerization dewaxing (BIDW) catalyst technology.

The BIDW catalyst addresses major objectives in 100% bio-units, such as improving the yield of renewable diesel and other desired products, enabling the production of higher-value products, minimizing dewaxing catalyst costs and unit downtime, and reducing hydrogen consumption to meet economic and technical objectives.

To watch these presentations in their entirety, please register for IRPC Operations and gain access to all of the conference presentations for a full year: Register for IRPC Operations here


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