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Utilizing the Flexibility of FCC Additives for Shale Oil Processing

Presented By

Todd Hochheiser - Johnson Matthey Process Management


The FCC unit is a dynamic process influenced by feed quality, operating conditions, and equilibrium catalyst properties. The rapid increase in shale oil production has impacted all three of these areas. Shale oil is typically more paraffinic than conventional crude sources resulting in higher FCC conversion, lower gasoline octane, and increased LPG production. Operating conditions are often adjusted to reduce conversion when in diesel maximization mode or if LPG handling constrained. While shale oil includes the traditional FCC catalyst poisons of nickel and vanadium, it also contains higher levels of iron and calcium. Iron and calcium concentrate on the catalyst particle surface leading to diffusion limitations and potentially to catalyst circulation constraints.

FCC shale oil processing can be optimized by utilizing FCC additives. A metals trapping additive will mitigate the effects of iron and vanadium poisoning. The benefits of a metals trapping additive include increased shale oil throughput, optimized product yields, and reduced fresh and/or flushing ecat addition rate. ZSM-5 additive is also a good match for shale oil given the reduced LPG olefinicity and gasoline octane. Various types of ZSM-5 additives can be used to adjust the relative increases in gasoline octane and LPG olefin production. A significant benefit of additives is the addition rate can be easily changed when operating goals shift. The flexibility in addition rate along with the various types of additives is a great match for the dynamic nature of FCC shale oil processing.

This presentation discusses multiple applications for FCC additives to optimize shale oil processing. Additionally, additive logistics including shipping, storage, inventory tracking, and addition systems are reviewed.

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