(Updated Jan 9th, 2014)
"How Recent Environmental Regulations Impact Refineries Producing Ultra-Low Sulfur Fuels"
by: Ray Elshout
The presentation will start with an over view of the refining technology. Then it will look at how the recent environmental regulations have impacted the operation of refineries in order to produce both low sulfur gasoline and ultra-low sulfur diesel products. Environmental regulations and other requirements to produce the fuel specifications have driven out most of the independent refineries from operation and have resulted in many of the major refineries in partnering with other major refiners.
To make reformulated gasoline today requires the ability to make a variety of ingredients when blended together satisfy the vapor pressure, octane (both road and research), sulfur limits, benzene limits, aromatic limits, oxygenate minimum levels, and end point limitations. Alkylation has become the primary source of high octane blend stock which has resulted in many refineries to run their fluid cat crackers to make light olefins which when reacted with isobutene make high octane, paraffinic alkylate. Catalytic reformate which is the other high octane blending ingredient is limited by the benzene and aromatics limitations.
Diesel fuel, as you know, costs more than gasoline in California primarily because of the low sulfur limitations. The sulfur which is embedding into the diesel boiling range ingredients is no longer easily removed to the new low levels. This has required a number of different costly approaches which will be discussed.
The fluid cat cracker unit which has been a major contributor to both the gasoline and diesel pools is now the focus of attention. Refiners are choosing between providing upstream cat cracker feed hydro-treating or alternately to treat the cat cracker products. The later approach results in saturation of aromatics to a limited extent reducing the octane. So pretreating the feed which increases overall cat cracker yields and improves the quality of the products is an expensive alternative not only in capital cost but need to provide hydrogen and recover the sulfur.
These topics will be addressed and the audience will be encouraged to provide their particular experience. Routes, inputs and contributions to these challenges to the petroleum industry will be greatly appreciated.
Ray Elshout has over 50 years of diversified engineering experience in the refining and petrochemical industry, including technical service at a refinery, process design with contractors, licensor package preparation, field engineering, in plant trouble-shooting and teaching chemical engineering.
Food: TBA at the location. Please advise if you prefer a vegetarian meal.
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