HYDROCARBON PUBLISHING COMPANY
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A member of the Hydrocarbon Analytics Group
Publication date:4Q 2014
Isomerization, in itself, has become somewhat less desirable in recent years due to the mandate to increase ethanol in gasoline and the restrictive RVP specifications on finished gasoline with the isomerate share in the gasoline pool declining to about 3%. C5-C6 isomerization units increase octane by as much as 25 points, though octane is not as desirable as it used to be given declining gasoline demand around the world, and increase RVP, which is a major constraint particularly in the summer months. As a result of these factors, isomerization unit economics have suffered greatly and a number of units in the US and Europe have either been shut down completely or seen operating rates reduced greatly.
Refiners that are continuing to operate isomerization units are looking to increasingly saturate benzene in these units due to the more restrictive benzene limits being placed on gasoline around the globe. C5-C6 isomerization has become even more integral in helping refiners manage benzene in the gasoline pool given these tighter specifications.
Basically, four different types of isomerization process schemes are available for use. These include a once-through isomerization scheme, a once-through isomerization scheme with prefractionation, a scheme that recycles low-octane hexanes, and a scheme that combines recycle of low-octane hexanes with an upstream prefractionation step. Each scheme will give a different yield and octane number and refiners must choose a scheme based on specific product goals. These schemes can be used with either a zeolite or chlorided alumina catalyst. Refiners that are continuing to operate isomerization units are looking to increasingly saturate benzene in these units due to the more restrictive benzene limits being placed on gasoline around the globe. C5-C6 isomerization has become even more integral in helping refiners manage benzene in the gasoline pool given these tighter specifications.
Additionally, the isomerization section features the latest trends and technology offerings, including:
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Keywords: isomerization, gasoline, MTBE, ethanol, naphtha, light naphtha, reformate, isomerate, octane, MON, RON, RVP, Reid Vapor Pressure, benzene, sulfur, condensate, methyl pentane, normal butane, normal pentane, normal hexane, isobutane, cyclohexane, platinum, palladium, zeolite, chlorided alumina, sulfated zirconia, tungstated zirconia, borosilicates, silicoaluminophosphate, SAPO, molecular sieve, membrane, stripper, deisobutanizer, deisopentanizer, deisohexanizer