September 2005

Special Report: Refining Developments

Upgrade alkylation for refining environment

Changes to blending specifications will require refiners to use more alkylate to maintain octane levels and driveability indexes

Dunham, D., ConocoPhillips Co.

Alkylation has been around since the 1940s. However, its current demand is increasing. Originally alkylate supplemented aviation fuel during World War II. Alkylation has resurfaced as the choice technology for producing low-sulfur, high-octane gasoline blendstock in a world of ever-changing fuel regulations. This process creates alkylate gasoline blendstock by reacting isobutane and olefin feedstock with either a hydrofluoric acid (HF) or a sulfuric acid (SA) catalyst. As market conditions create more demand for alkylate, refiners will be pressured to push existing units to maximum capacity. HF alkylation units are emerging as the ideal choice for these expansion efforts. CHANGING MARKET

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