Boosting FCCU profitability through butylene maximisation with novel FCC Catalysts
BASF’s Multiple Framework Topology (MFT) technology is designed for butylene maximisation in FCC with novel catalysts created by integrating four key elements; multiple frameworks, active matrix, low acid site density and higher activity. First generation MFT catalyst Fourte demonstrated profitability boost in number of refinery trials through butylene maximisation. Fourtune is the second-generation product designed to improve the selectivity of butylene over propylene (i.e., higher butylene/propylene ratio) while continuing to improve butylene yields. Fourtune has been proven in recent refinery trials to significantly improve the selectivity towards butylenes. These products help our customers improve overall profitability through the optimise utilisation of the alkylation unit to product high octane products.
In the US, alkylate capacity is expanding with ongoing refinery capital projects and tight oil continues to gain traction, both of which will continue to influence higher butylenes product pricing and indirectly the high value of high gasoline octane blending components. With such growing demand for butylenes, the need for advanced FCC catalyst technologies to meet these expectations also continue to grow.
A traditional method to generate butylenes is to reduce hydride transfer via a rare-earth decrease on ultrastable Y zeolite, or USY, of the FCC catalyst. Unfortunately, this also reduces the overall catalytic activity and negatively impact butylenes make through lower conversion. Increasing matrix also favors butylenes selectivity. However, increased matrix can also lead to higher delta coke and dry gas production. A common method to produce butylenes is to use ZSM-5 additives. However, the ZSM-5 zeolite selectively produces twice as much propylene as butylenes, thus making ZSM-5 an unprofitable solution for many refineries. For a refinery that is LPG constrained and aiming to maximise butylenes, any LPG created with selectivity of propylene being excessively higher than butylenes will negatively impact refinery economics.
Drawbacks in traditional approaches presents catalyst vendors a new challenge and opportunity to design FCC catalysts tailored towards butylene maximisation. BASF’s Multiple Framework Topology (MFT) technology addresses this challenge with the design of novel catalysts created by integrating four key elements; multiple frameworks, active matrix, low acid site density and higher activity.
First generation MFT catalyst Fourte demonstrated profitability boost in number of refinery trials through butylene maximisation. Following the success of Fourte, we continued BASF research and development efforts to design new butylene maximisation catalysts with additional features to deliver unique performance. Second generation catalyst Fourtune, which contain specialty zeolite to deliver superior butylene selectivity over propylene (i.e., higher butylene/propylene ratio) provides additional flexibility for refiners requiring higher value butylene yields and with a need for less propylene due to specific refinery constraints or economics. Since the commercial introduction of the MFT catalyst Fourte and Fourtune, they have successfully delivered profitability boost to several FCC refineries.