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Incremental Value from FCC Catalyst Innovation

Presented By

Rafael Gonzalez - GRACE


FCCU oil refining

The production of light olefins (ethylene, propylene, butylene) has become the focus for many refineries, and the FCC unit is a key component of the refinery strategy to meet propylene demand. W. R. Grace & Co. (Grace) is the market leader in providing refiners with catalyst solutions to maximize valuable LPG olefins from the FCC unit across feed conditions ranging from hydrotreated VGO to atmospheric residue. Key to the production of light olefins in the FCC is the careful selection of the base Y-zeolite catalyst and the ZSM-5 zeolite additive. This presentation focuses on next generation ZSM-5 additives which Grace has engineered to have very high activity. 

ZSM-5 is a shape selective zeolite used in the FCC process for improved gasoline octane and increased light olefin yields. In 1984, Grace Davison (now Grace) introduced Additive O, the first FCC additive incorporating ZSM-5 zeolite. Since then, Grace has been a leader in the global ZSM-5 additives market and is committed to continued investments in research and development in these additives. To achieve maximum yields of propylene in the FCC unit, a high level of ZSM-5 activity is required. This can be achieved, of course, through high addition rates of additive, although this is usually not ideal due to activity dilution of the base cracking catalyst. A more preferred approach has been to increase the activity of the additive through incorporation of higher and higher levels of ZSM-5. Stabilization and binder technology are key in achieving high levels of ZSM-5 incorporation in traditional ZSM-5 additives. However, there is a practical limit to this approach and Grace believes the next generation of ZSM-5 additives will have an enhancement of the unit activity of the ZSM-5 zeolite itself. 

Our efforts in the laboratory have yielded very encouraging results demonstrating step out activity increases per unit crystal of ZSM-5. We will share some preliminary results from our work and describe expected benefits in commercial FCC units including maximizing the production of valuable light olefins and minimizing both the production of lower value LPG components and dilution of the Y-zeolite catalyst activity.

Rafael Gonzales, GRACERafael González Sánchez, PhD is Regional Marketing Manager EMEA for Grace Refining Technologies. Rafael joined GRACE in 2011 as R&D researcher leading new FCC catalyst and additives developments before moving to Regional Technical Sales Manager to provide FCC Technical Service to refineries, and more recently to the current Marketing Manager position. Rafael holds a Master’s Degree in Chemical Engineering and a PhD in Engineering and Advanced Technologies from Barcelona University, Spain. His thesis topic was Heterogeneous Catalysis Developments for Refining Industry. Rafael has extensive multidisciplinary experience in catalyst design and development as well as FCC unit technical service. He is co-author of several publications in the FCC industry field.

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