BASF has launched a proprietary new Fluid Catalytic Cracking (FCC) additive designed for butylene selectivity in refineries. The product called Evolve improves butylene yields while preserving unit conversion and valuable fuels yields when compared to existing technologies, the company claims.
Ludwigshafen/Germany — Refiners worldwide are facing the effects of tightening fuel regulations as stricter sulfur fuels standards continue to be implemented globally. In 2017, Tier 3 standards went into effect in the United States. Refiners are striving to find ways to reduce the sulfur content of their gasoline pool to meet the 10 ppm requirement. China implemented similar standards also in 2017. In the EU the 10 ppm requirement for Gasoline has already come into effect in 2009.
Compliance with tighter sulfur requirements often led to octane loss. Alkylate has become a preferred gasoline blending component, as it contains no sulfur, no olefins, no benzene, and has a low vapor pressure and high-octane number. As a result, many refiners focus on maximization of alkylate production, but struggle due to a butylene shortage, which is important for keeping refineries operating as profitable as possible.
With long-term global fuel demand expected to favor clean, low-sulfur fuels and increasing use of high compression engines requiring higher octane gasoline, Evolve enables refineries to optimize the alkylation plant by increasing selectivity for butylene over propylene compared to conventional olefins additives. According to the manufacturer, refineries benefit from both the output of butylene and low sulfur, high-octane gasoline.
The company announced that the technology was the result of a concerted R&D effort dedicated to the development of a new technology to provide a significant increase in butylene selectivity without negatively affecting unit operating yields.
Jim Chirumbole, Vice President, BASF Refining Catalysts, said that the cornerstones of this R&D effort were to create an additive that had increased selectivity to butylene over propylene when compared to conventional olefins additives.