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Refining/Petrochemical Integration: A New Paradigm

with Anil Khatri, GTC Technology US, LLC

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The global trend in motor fuel consumption favors diesel over gasoline. With declining demand and restrictions in government regulations, there is a surplus of FCC gasoline. There is a simultaneous increase in demand for various petrochemicals such as propylene and aromatics.

Technology providers have been successful to utilize the Fluid Catalytic Cracking Unit as a method to produce propylene by high severity operation, but the gasoline yield from these units has been neglected. Cat cracked gasoline contains a high level of olefins, some sulfur, and appreciable aromatics. Until now, the aromatics were not wanted due to the olefin and sulfur impurities in this stream.

New technology is being commercialized to separate the aromatics from FCC gasoline in order to use them directly for downstream applications. Additionally, the olefin fraction can be converted into aromatics through a simple fixed-bed reaction system. Thus all of the gasoline components are efficiently made into high-value petrochemicals. This approach also synergistically reduces the sulfur and olefins content in the gasoline moving towards an environmentally acceptable specification. This combination of technology is much more efficient than what some operators use, which recycles FCC gasoline to the reforming unit.

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