W.R. Grace – Hoekstra Trading team up to help refiners optimize Tier 3 gasoline

This Q&A appeared in the journal PTQ Catalysis, March 15, 2021:

Q: Is there a route for post-treating gasoline with minimal octane loss?

A: Colin Baillie, Segment Manager, Environmental Additives, W. R. Grace & Co, Colin.Baillie@Grace.com; and George Hoekstra, President, Hoekstra Trading LLC, George.Hoekstra@Hoekstratrading.com

One way to minimise octane loss in post-treated gasoline is through adjusting the FCC process to optimise the properties of FCC gasoline, prior to the subsequent post-treatment.

FCC gasoline typically consists of >300 different molecules, composed of paraffinic, olefinic, and aromatic structures. Portions of these molecules subsequently undergo further hydrogenation reactions when posttreated, which leads to octane loss. The level of octane loss is strongly impacted by the specific olefins that are being saturated, for example saturation of linear olefins, branched olefins, and cyclic olefins will lead to different levels of octane loss, as will the carbon number of the olefins. This is because these olefinic species have different octane values, as do the resulting paraffins that are formed upon post-treatment. The sulphur content of the FCC gasoline and type of sulphur species (mercaptans, thiophenes, benzothiophenes) is also important, as it impacts the post-treatment severity (and therefore octane loss) that is required to achieve a target sulphur level.

W. R. Grace & Co. and Hoekstra Trading LLC have worked together to provide unique insight into how the FCC process can be optimised to reduce octane loss of post-treated gasoline. Detailed hydrocarbon analysis and sulphur speciation of FCC gasoline and the corresponding post-treated gasoline combined with Hoekstra Trading’s software allow the analysis of individual reactions occurring upon post-treatment, and ultimately the octane impact of those reactions. Tailored FCC catalyst and gasoline sulphur reduction technology can then be employed to optimise FCC gasoline properties for minimum octane loss of post-treated gasoline. Such analysis has revealed that improving gasoline octane/sulphur performance can be done quickly, with no capital investment, and with the potential to generate a significant increase in profitability.

Please contact Colin Baillie or George Hoekstra to arrange a simple field test on your FCC-posttreater train.

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