February 2013

Special Report: Clean Fuels

Select new production strategies for FCC light cycle oil

Selective adjustments to FCC operating variables and catalyst quality can significantly increase LCO production, which refiners can then upgrade into diesel blendstock.

Global product demand trends favor diesel fuel over motor gasoline. This provides a challenge for fluid catalytic cracking (FCC) centered refineries because FCC-based light-cycle oil (LCO) now has limited value as a component in modern diesel transportation fuel due to its aromatic and sulfurous character. To make matters worse, quality virgin distillate included in the FCC feedstock is essentially destroyed during FCC processing. How can a refiner with a traditional FCC as the primary conversion unit stay profitable in a flexible market-driven economy? Recognizing the disparity between modern diesel specifications and the quality of FCC LCO provides both the keys and limitations to unl

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