October 2007

Process Developments

Reduce alkylate costs with solid-acid catalysts

New developments in alkylation processes mitigate risk while reducing operating costs

Mukherjee, M., Nehlsen, J., Exelus, Inc.

T?he phase-out of methyl tertiary butyl ether (MTBE) leaves refiners searching for methods to keep octane and Reid vapor pressure (Rvp) of blended gasoline within specifications. The required inclusion of ethanol for reformulated gasoline blends has raised Rvp of summer gasoline. More alkylate is needed to offset the octane losses while meeting vapor pressure requirements. Yet, the alkylation process has safety issues due to the liquid-acid catalysts used to process alkylate. New developments in solid-acid catalysts (SACs) remove most safety concerns for this refining operation. Several examples illustrate possible options for alkylation technologies to meet blending requirements of "cleaner

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