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RefiPampa signs agreement with Elessent Clean Technologies

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Hydrocarbon Engineering,

Refi Pampa SA (RefiPampa) has signed agreements with Elessent Clean Technologies (Elessent) for the license and basic engineering of a new IsoTherming® diesel hydrotreating and dewaxing unit. The grassroots hydrotreater will be installed at the RefiPampa facility in La Pampa, Argentina. In order to comply with the latest fuel specifications in Argentina to meet Grade 3 diesel specifications by 2024, RefiPampa commissioned Elessent for an IsoTherming diesel hydrotreating and dewaxing unit with a target capacity of 62.6 m3/hr (9450 BPSD).

IsoTherming diesel hydrotreaters enable refiners to produce high-quality, low-sulfur fuels that comply with increasingly-stringent environmental requirements, but at lower energy consumption rates and operating costs than trickle bed hydroprocessing units. The IsoTherming technology is commercially-proven to process a wide range of feedstocks, from kerosene to vacuum gas oil, including 100% light cycle oil (LCO). IsoTherming hydroprocessing units are designed to provide refiners with consistent 30 - 60% savings on utilities compared to trickle bed technologies and the potential of 30% capital cost savings or more. In addition to the capital and operating cost savings, the technology provides refiners a more environmentally-friendly method of producing transportation fuels through the significant reduction in combustion-related CO2 emissions. Due to the technology’s energy efficient nature, the licensed diesel hydrotreating and dewaxing unit will nearly halve the CO2 emissions that would be produced from an equivalent trickle bed hydrotreating unit.

“We are excited to have the opportunity to supply a grassroots hydrotreater and dewaxing unit to the existing RefiPampa facility in Argentina. The unit will incorporate both hydrotreating and dewaxing catalyst, in order to improve the cold flow properties of the diesel which is crucial to the needs of the refinery in this region, one of the coldest in the country. We have worked closely with RefiPampa over the last few years to generate the most economical solution for the refinery, catering to their unique feedstock blend, and completing pilot plant testing with their feedstock for proof of concept,” said Samantha Presley, Global Business Manager, IsoTherming Hydroprocessing Technology.

The hydrotreating and dewaxing unit will enable RefiPampa to produce Grade 3 fuel year-round, reducing and even eliminating the need in some months for costly additive usage for improving cold flow properties. In conventional trickle bed technology, expensive isomerisation dewaxing catalyst is often utilised in order to minimise yield loss while improving cold flow properties. Unique to the IsoTherming technology is the ability to offer customers a less costly option of utilising a small amount of cracking dewaxing catalyst for cold flow property improvement with diesel yields >95 wt%.

“We have built a strong relationship with Elessent over the last few years. The economic solution our teams have developed will allow us to continue to provide the region with the necessary fuel as regulations tighten in the coming years. We look forward to continuing to work together on this important project,” said Gabriel Faroppa, Engineering Director, RefiPampa.

Start-up of the unit at the La Pampa, Argentina site is expected to take place by 2024.

The technology utilises a novel liquid-phase reactor system offering distinct advantages over conventional hydroprocessing technologies in that it uses hydrogen and catalyst more efficiently. It is suitable for a wide range of applications, including 100% kerosene hydrotreating, 100% LCO hydrotreating, transmix hydrotreating, diesel hydrotreating, FCC feed hydrotreating (VGO hydrotreating), mild hydrocracking, dewaxing, gas-to-liquid (GTL) upgrading, and heavy oil upgrading for both grassroots and revamp configurations. It has been licensed in 29 refineries worldwide with capacities ranging from 1500 bpd (82 kmta) to 80 000 bpd (3900 kmta), offering refiners a lower CAPEX and OPEX solution than conventional hydroprocessing options.

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