February 2012

Special Report: Clean Fuels

Consider total value when optimizing catalytic cracking units

Low rare-earth catalysts balance activity and selectivity against cost

Ismail, S., BASF Corp.

Rare earths are incorporated in the fluid catalytic cracking (FCC) manufacturing recipe to achieve higher catalyst activity and to improve hydrothermal stability. Rare earths (REs) achieved these goals by enhancing catalytic activity and preventing loss of acid sites during normal unit operations. To address the specific needs of each FCC unit, catalyst manufacturers have traditionally formulated catalysts with various RE levels that allow for optimal unit performance. The level of REs in a specific catalyst formulation depends on the operational severity and product objectives for the specific FCC unit. As gasoline demand increased, refiners requested higher RE levels of their catalyst fo

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