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Innovation key to flexibility

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Hydrocarbon Engineering,

During the Technology Trendsetters Panel at ERTC 2017 in Athens, Greece, Eli Ben-Shoshan, Global Business Leader, DuPont Clean Technologies, highlighted the critical role technology innovation must play in offering refineries flexibility.

Ben-Shoshan said: “With more crudes on the market than ever before, refiners are under pressure to get the most out of their heavy, cost-advantaged raw materials. With so many new refining technologies available on the marketplace today, the focus of refiners should be on efficiently and economically re-configuring processing units to meet current fuel demands and increasingly stringent fuel quality and environmental regulation. Technological innovation will only be successful if it helps them to achieve that goal. It must therefore offer refiners adaptability at the same time as allowing them to meet regulatory requirements cost-effectively.”

He pointed out that early adopters would come forward, provided benefits were real, gave them a competitive advantage and enabled more flexible operations. He cited the example of the recently launched DuPont Clean Technologies ConvExSM HF alkylation conversion technology which provides refineries with a cost-effective solution to convert volatile and toxic hydrofluoric acid (HF) alkylation units into safer sulfuric acid alkylation technology.

“As refiners need to be more and more agile to survive in a highly competitive market, such flexible technologies can be of great advantage, particularly when cost pressures come at the same time as increasingly rigorous regulation,” Ben-Shoshan explained. “By developing pioneering technology solutions like the new ConvExSM conversion technology, refiners gain access to a cost-effective new option that will safeguard their refinery personnel and surrounding communities, and at the same time produce increased volumes of valuable, high quality alkylate to meet market demand.”

Dr Matthew Clingerman, Regional Engineering Manager, DuPont Clean Technologies, continued this theme at ERTC, speaking about IsoTherming® Hydroprocessing and Mild Hydrocracking technology, developed by DuPont Clean Technologies with a similar goal of simultaneous economic and emissions benefits in mind. His presentation outlined the value such technology can bring refiners in terms of equipment reduction, capital and operating expenditure benefits, as well as catalyst performance enhancement. Such advances in technology, due in this case to improvements on the conventional trickle bed design and an innovative catalyst, are key to enabling the refining industry to move forward.

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