Sinochem Hongrun Petrochemicals has plans to use Honeywell UOP’s Isoalky ionic liquids alkylation technology to produce cleaner-burning fuels at its refinery complex in China. The specialised technology is the maiden successful liquid alkylation technology to be introduced in more than 75 years.
Illinois/USA – Honeywell UOP has recently announced that Sinochem Hongrun Petrochemical Co. will use Honeywell UOP’s Isoalky ionic liquids alkylation technology to produce cleaner-burning motor fuels at its refinery complex in China.
Hongrun is the first petrochemicals manufacturer in China to license Isoalky technology, a cost-effective solution for refining companies as an alternative to conventional liquid acid systems or solid catalyst systems to produce high-quality alkylate for clean-burning fuels.
Developed in conjunction with Chevron U.S.A in 2016, the technology is the first successful liquid alkylation technology to be introduced in more than 75 years. The technology uses ionic liquids instead of conventional hydrofluoric or sulfuric acids as a catalyst to produce alkylate, a critical component for making high-octane motor fuels.
Isoalky technology can be used in new refineries, as well as in existing facilities undergoing capital improvements. Alkylation units add high-octane hydrocarbons to gasoline, helping prevent knocking – or autoignition of the fuel – in an engine while helping the fuel to burn with fewer exhaust particulates.
“Isoalky technology is a compelling solution to meeting the increased demand for cleaner-burning fuels, but with far simpler handling requirements than with conventional liquid acid technologies,” said Bryan Glover, vice president and general manager of Honeywell UOP’s Process Technology and Equipment business. “The ionic liquid catalyst at the heart of the process delivers equal or better yields of high-quality alkylate needed for refiners to meet new requirements for higher-octane, cleaner-burning fuels.”
The technology was proven in a demonstration unit at Chevron’s Salt Lake City refinery, where it operated successfully for five years, and where Chevron is currently converting its hydrofluoric acid alkylation unit to the new technology.
More than half of the world’s approximately 700 refineries currently have alkylation units that use hydrofluoric or sulfuric acid.
Ionic liquids have strong acid properties that enable them to produce alkylate, but without the volatility of conventional acids. Ionic liquids are comprised largely of ions that convert C4 paraffins and other olefins into an excellent gasoline-range blending product. Due to their low vapour pressure, ionic liquids allow simpler handling procedures than sulfuric and hydrofluoric acids.
The technology can also produce alkylate from a wider range of feedstocks using a lower volume of catalyst. Operating at temperatures below 100ºC, the liquid catalyst has a negligible vapour pressure and can be regenerated on-site.
Sinochem Hongrun Petrochemical Co. produces and sells liquefied petroleum gas, diesel fuel, gasoline, asphalt, and lubricating oil. Headquartered in Qingzhou City, Weifang, China, Hongrun operates as a subsidiary of Sinochem Group.