Stretching catalyst performance claims

One reason refiners want independent catalyst testing is they sometimes get burned by exaggerated vendor claims on catalyst performance. Here is one example from our six-year standardized multi-client catalyst testing program.


In 2009, Criterion (now Shell Catalysts & Technologies) was promoting their new CENTERA catalysts for diesel desulfurization. CENTERA was Criterion’s fifth new product line since the 1999-vintage CENTINEL.

Criterion used the chart on this slide to portray the relative performance of their products:

Excerpt from Hoekstra Research Report 2, Nov 1, 2011

The chart shows CENTERA with claimed activity of 500 on a scale where 100 represents 1980-vintage catalysts. By comparison, the 1999-vintage CENTINEL’s activity was 280, meaning CENTERA was 80% more active than CENTINEL.

Independent testing showed a surprising result

But when CENTINEL was tested in our $1.6 million pilot plant program, it tested equal to competitors’ 2009 CENTERA-equivalents!, those being Albemarle’s KF767 and ART’s CDXi.

This was a big surprise because CENTINEL, which had been surpassed by 4 new generations of Criterion technology, was expected to perform far below the competitors’ 2009 CENTERA-equivalents.

If the obsolete CENTINEL was equal to the competitors’ best of 2009, was CENTERA 80% better than that?

The explanation

Subsequent research showed the answer was no. Our ongoing testing showed Criterion marketers had really stretched things when they created the above chart to set customer expectations for Centera vs. Centinel. That aggressive marketing worked, and some refiners got burned. The full story is in our reports with all the hard facts and data.


  1. Refiners should verify supplier claims before choosing catalysts, to avoid risk of getting burned.
  2. Today, when good independent test data is readily available to anyone, all refiners should be using it to help catalyst selection.
  3. Catalyst suppliers should use it too — to confirm where you stand vs. competition when tested on the industry’s most reliable, independent test track.

Hoekstra Research Report 3

Which competitive catalysts are you considering for upcoming reloads? We have the hard data and knowledge base to help you do a good apples-to-apples comparison of their profit impact in your unit.

If you’re not yet in our user group, your first step is to buy Hoekstra Research Report 3. It is easy to do . . no contracts, no lawyers, no non-disclosure agreements are needed. Just use the sample invoice in this brochure as a template to prepare a purchase order to buy Report 3. Then convince your boss to sign it, and E-mail the PO to us today.

For $50,000, you’ll get Report 3 at the speed of light and immediate access to $1,600,000 of scientific information plus technical service that will help you make your refinery’s best-ever catalyst reload decisions in 2022. Don’t live for years with inferior results just because you decided to try to do the job without this inexpensive, quality tool.

George Hoekstra

+1 630 330-8159

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Hoekstra Trading LLC