HYDROCARBON PUBLISHING COMPANY
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ADVANCED HYDROTREATING AND HYDROCRACKING TECHNOLOGIES TO PRODUCE ULTRA-CLEAN DIESEL FUEL
Publication date:January 2004
In-depth report covering hydrocracking and hydrotreating technologies.
Starting from 2005-2006, many refiners around the world will have to meet very stringent diesel specifications. In the US, the standards call for ultra-low sulfur level (< 15 ppm.) Japan and European Union will follow suit with requirements for ultra-ultra-low sulfur diesel (< 10 ppm) in 2008 and 2009 respectively. These mandates have created formidable challenges to refiners since they have to produce a greater quantity and higher quality of cleaner transportation fuels from increasingly poor crudes. On the other hand, they would reap the benefits of global dieselization;a rising use of energy-efficient diesel;and a potentially less crowded fuel market if marginal players decide to exit because of significant upgrading costs.
From a strategic point of view, an emphasis solely on sulfur reduction is myopic. It could result in costly expenditures in the not-so-distant future due to the fact that legislators would soon require a complete solution to the diesel engine exhaust problem, not just getting rid of sulfur. Acceptable diesel quality should be multi-dimensional and comprise near-zero sulfur, lower total aromatics/polyaromatics contents, higher cetane, reduced density, better cold flow behavior, and decreased final boiling point. In other words, the fuel must be ultra-ultra-clean (UUC). There have been significant breakthroughs in hydrotreating and hydrocracking technologies over the last few years to tackle the urgent issues of diesel sulfur and aromatics contents that lead to soot, NOX, and particulate matter emissions.
The difficulties in producing UUCD are complicated by uncertainties related to 1) what levels will be required for many of these properties in the future and how to achieve them, 2) what technologies are available now that can be used in existing equipment or inexpensive revamps, and 3) what alternative fuel sources are ready to supply the growing demand for diesel. To tackle all these concerns, our new 900-page report identifies and analyzes: the latest refinery technologies to maximize diesel yield; advances in hydrotreating and hydrocracking process designs, catalyst formulations, and hardware for UUCD production; the recent development of natural gas-to-liquids (particularly UUCD); and technology and commercial advancements of diesel alternatives and extenders and their potentials to compete with petro-diesel.
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Keywords: bitumen, bottom-of-the-barrel, extra heavy oil, fluid catalytic cracking or FCC, high acid crude, hydrotreating, hydrocracking, oil sand, opportunity crude, resid, report on refinery hydrotreating and hydrocracking processes, tar sand