Alexis Shackleford - BASF
Approximately half of Fluidized Catalytic Cracking (FCC) units worldwide process feedstock containing residue (i.e. resid feeds). In regions where access to light crudes or tight oil is limited, the tendency to process resid feeds is even greater. In these regions, this trend is also related to the necessity to improve the profitability of the FCC unit by processing lower cost resid feeds, which leads to the strategic target of utilizing catalysts that can provide an increased flexibility to handle such challenging feeds. From an operational standpoint, resid feeds provide unique challenges to refiners as they contain higher aromatic, conradson carbon residue, and metals content compared to vacuum gas oil feeds. Contaminant metals including nickel, vanadium, and iron catalyze a variety of unwanted secondary reactions in the FCC unit. Even small amounts of these contaminant metals in the feed deposit cumulatively on the catalyst, which is a major concern for the refining industry. Being a highly active dehydrogenation catalyst, nickel specifically presents a considerable challenge as it significantly increases hydrogen and coke yields off the FCC unit. Resid catalysts are designed to have high tolerance to these metals and reduce the impact of the unwanted side reactions. This presentation will discuss the challenges of processing resid feeds including understanding contaminant metals and introduce the latest in resid catalyst innovation: Boron Based Technology (BBT). BASF’s revolutionary new BBT for resid applications is aimed at minimizing the negative impact of contaminant metals (especially nickel). The new technology is based on a novel chemistry for metals passivation, where customization and flexibility to deal with contaminant metal passivation is crucial. This presentation will cover several case studies of where this technology was implemented to improve unit profitability.