Dr. Dwijen Banerjee - University of Tulsa, Oklahoma
The demand for high-value distillate product such as gasoline is increasing, while that of heavier fuel oil is decreasing. Therefore, maximizing the distillate products yield from the heavy residue is of immediate attention for the refiners. However, increasing environmental concerns and strict petroleum product specifications, such as for marine fuel IMO2020, has become a challenging task for the refiners to meet the demand. The most popular and economical technology for the refiners to convert residue into a lighter product is delayed coking. But this path is accompanied by higher coke yield and poor quality distillate that needs immediate further hydrotreating. In order to increase the volume of clean distillate and decrease the coke yield, an alternate option is to go through hydrogen addition processes, especially by means of hydrocracking of heavy residue.
This presentation will discuss the importance of resid-hydrocracking for refineries to adopt. The development of this technology has gone through an interesting history from the 1st generation of fixed-bed to moving-bed to ebullated-bed and finally reached the latest generation of slurry-phase. The only process that can achieve greater than 95 wt% resid conversion with a distillable liquid yield of more than 100 volume percentage.
The complex molecular structure of asphaltenes and its unpredictable behavior remains the biggest challenge not only for the refiners but also for the researchers. Catalyst development is the heart of the success of the process. The high conversion in slurry-phase has been achieved through highly dispersed catalyst particle development. For the efficient handling of the resid and maximum benefit for the refiners, process integration of slurry-hydrocracking technology with delayed coking or FCC plant will positively impact refineries. But it is true there is no single solution that fits all.
Dr. Banerjee is currently the senior advisor at the University of Tulsa consulting on heavy oil upgrading processes. His R & D experience in the petroleum industries spans over 30 years in various institutions and countries. Dr. Banerjee is author of the book Oil Sands Heavy oil and Bitumen, from Recovery to Refinery and holds 15 U.S. patents in these areas.