Refiners are facing the effects of tightening fuel regulations as increasingly strict sulfur fuels standards continue to be implemented globally. In 2017, Tier 3 standards went into effect in the US. Refiners are striving to find ways to reduce the sulfur content of their gasoline pool to meet the 10 ppm requirement. China implemented similar standards in 2017. In the EU, the 10 ppm requirement for gasoline has already come into effect (in 2009). Compliance with tighter sulfur requirements often led to octane loss. Alkylate has become a preferred gasoline blending component, as it contains no sulfur, no olefins, no benzene, and has a low vapour pressure and high-octane number. As a result, many refiners focus on maximisation of alkylate production, but struggle due to a butylene shortage, which is important for keeping refineries operating as profitable as possible.
BASF has launched its EvolveTM fluid catalytic cracking (FCC) additive, designed for butylene selectivity. This additive provides measurable improvements in butylene yields, while preserving unit conversion and valuable fuels yields compared to existing technologies.
With long-term global fuel demand expected to favour clean, low-sulfur fuels and with increasing use of high compression engines requiring higher octane gasoline, Evolve enables refineries to optimise the alkylation plant by increasing selectivity for butylene over propylene compared to conventional olefins additives. Refineries benefit from both the output of butylene and low sulfur, high-octane gasoline.
The technology is the result of R&D efforts dedicated to the development of a technology to provide a significant increase in butylene selectivity without negatively affecting unit operating yields.
“Cornerstones of this R&D effort were to create an additive that had increased selectivity to butylene over propylene when compared to conventional olefins additives. BASF’s solution provides an effective means for refineries with gas plant constraints to optimize their alkylation unit feedstock,” said Jim Chirumbole, Vice President, BASF Refining Catalysts.
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