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Optimizing FCC Gasoline Octane / Sulfur Performance

Presented By

George Hoekstra - Hoekstra Trading Co.


With Tier 3 gasoline now fully implemented, engineers have big incentives to optimize the octane/sulfur performance of their FCC gasoline desulfurizers by using available data on catalysts, feeds, cut points, reactor conditions, and capital investments.

Since 2015, our multi-client group has been at the forefront of catalyst and process optimization for gasoline desulfurizers. Catalysts from Axens, Albemarle, Haldor Topsoe, and a fourth supplier have been tested side-by-side in a multi-client independent pilot plant testing program. Commercial field tests have proven that octane loss can be reduced from 8 RON to 5 RON by optimizing feed properties, that 2 RON octane can be saved by careful optimization of splitter cut points and heavy tail composition, and that small capital investments of about $20 million can yield octane savings worth $27 million per year. We have also worked with FCC catalyst suppliers to help process engineers optimize the integrated FCC process train.

The above optimization steps are enabled by use of modern analytical methods, an industry-best octane model, and a process model that tracks the critical reactions affecting octane sulfur performance. All our data and models are available to anyone at negligible cost. In this presentation I will show pilot plant and commercial data from our 3-year multi-clientR&D project that led to these developments.

George Hoekstra retired from BP in 2009 after 35 years in refinery process research and technology management. Since then he has offered consulting services to independent refiners in the field of hydroprocessing catalysts, including the refining industry’s only multi-client, open market catalyst testing program.  George has also been an options investor for 40 years and is a contributing author to Futures and Options Trader and Active Trader Magazine. His options investing articles focus on analyzing price volatility, finding bargains in the options markets, and how to start your own options investing program.  George is currently President of Hoekstra Trading LLC.

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