A global boutique consultancy, we serve our clients in two ways: via client directed projects (TCG Consulting) and via various programs and studies (TCG Resources).

New Materials: In-Reactor Optimization Using Active Purification Media

New Multi-Client Study Proposal from TCGR
“New Materials:
In-Reactor Optimization Using Active Purification Media”

Traditionally, chemical and refining endusers are vastly familiar with feedstock and intermediate purification processes using adsorbents or chemicals to remove impurities that would deactivate catalysts within downstream reactors, such as selective hydrogenation of dienes, V and Ni passivation before FCC operations, or ZnO traps for chlorine or activated carbon for mercury removal. But an increasingly important trend is occurring in two newer directions: 1) stacked catalyst bed reactor configurations using multiple catalyst types within one reactor that enhance yields, as well as; 2) the use of in-reactor active media to remove specific reaction by-products or detrimental by-products which deactivate the catalysts in-situ.

At first glance, one might dismiss these developments as somewhat trivial! However, in practice depending on the product reaction, feedstock or intermediate deployed, these controls can allow improved yields as well as the increased reactor space velocities resulting in increased productivities of 10% + or more. This is not trivial, particularly if this type of retrofit, largely goes directly to the bottom line! TCGR’s proposed study will explore the latest developments in enhanced in-reactor catalyst protection, poison purification systems and methodologies to improve productivity.

Historically, the recognition of reactor fouling control, as well as catalyst poisoning control has been most developed in the refining catalyst industry, particularly in hydrotreating/ hydrocracking, where processing more difficult feedstocks, like heavy VGO’s, has been an industry challenge. So it is not surprising to find licensors/catalyst suppliers like Albemarle, Axens, Chevron/ART, Haldor Topsøe, and Shell/Criterion, having developed tailored solutions and services to address these in reactor challenges.

New Stacked-Bed Reactor Configurations Provide Reactor Flexibility
(Albemarle website)

This background establishes that this is already a commercialized practice. The trend we are now witnessing is spreading beyond hydrocracking/hydrotreating into more refining/petrochemical/ chemical and polymerization processes. We are seeing continuous improvements in refining, now spreading across segments so all segments remain of interest.

Documenting these advances, as applied to new applications, will assist the industry process end-users to consider and retrofit in-reactor active media to remove poisons and detrimental by-products which deactivate specific catalysts in-situ. Moreover new materials sciences in MOFs, COFs and ZIFs; zeolitic and MCM mesoporous materials and carbon-based structures, will provide a pipeline of new active/modified materials which can add breadth and depth to future solutions. These are three strong reasons to seriously consider supporting this study as an emerging science.

The study objective is to document, by way of industry case examples, leading processes where active/reactive media and/or active structured packings have been used more recently, as opposed to passive media, for example such as NorPro Denstone™ alumina balls or Sulzer Mellapak™ internals, just used to support the catalyst beds.

These case studies will demonstrate how existing reactor internals can be modified to:

  • Provide 10-20% increased catalyst volume space by reducing the quantity of passive bed supports.
  • Increase the void volumes, decrease pressure drops and allow for higher space velocities – LHSV’s which take more effect use of catalyst productivities.
  • Adjust bed reaction temperatures, reducing the catalyst sintering rates to extend catalyst life.

The above packings can be modified by impregnating with “active chemical, metal and inorganics” so that closer reactor control is achieved. There is even a higher advantage to be gained in higher space velocity applications and tis would apply to natural gas purifications, olefin purification, chemical hydrogenations and the like.

The added value TCGR provides is real world operating expertise on how to improve on these examples, from experienced Dialog Group® active industry consultants. TCGR will utilize numerous experienced reaction engineering, process optimization and materials science experts from industry to assist us to provide insights beyond what other sources that do not have the reach and industrial experience can provide.

Additional information, including the complete study proposal, the preliminary Table of Contents and the Order Form, can be downloaded via the link below. For additional study details or to subscribe, please contact John J. Murphy at +1.215.628.4447 or John.J.Murphy@catalystgrp.com.

At this stage in study development, TCGR is welcoming inputs on the specifics
to be addressed and nominations for the case studies to be completed. These
so-called “charter” subscribers are requested to indicate their interest in supporting
the study by returning a completed Order Form (see page 9 of the proposal) by
November 4, 2016 after which TCGR will contact them for their inputs.

The Catalyst Group Resources (TCGR), a member of The Catalyst Group, is dedicated to monitoring and analyzing technical and commercial developments in catalysis as they apply to the global refining, petrochemical, fine/specialty chemical, pharmaceutical, polymer/elastomer and environmental industries.

Download PDF:
Proposal – New Materials in Reactor Optimization Using Active Purification Media (October 2016)