February 2001

Special Report: Clean Fuels

Consider improved liquid alkylation catalysts

To process 'cleaner fuels,' refiners will seek octane gains from the blending pool; alkylate refinement is a possible solution

Vander Laan, J., ConocoPhillips; Pfile, M., Shoemaker, L. W., Phillips Petroleum Co.

Alkylate-an important high-octane blendstock-is used to produce gasoline that meets current stringent environmental standards. Refiners are seeking improvements in alkylation technology. While some hope for a solid-catalyst processes, such catalysts are not commercialized. Hydrofluoric acid (HF) and sulfuric acid (H2SO4) are the most common alkylation catalysts. However, new catalysts are available. Such developments are estimated to increase alkylation octane and production levels, while addressing safety concerns over current alkylation catalysts. The following case history explains the possible advantages-octane production, reduced risks and lowered operating costs-by using such technolog

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