Global methodology for catalyst screening and optimization process. Application to mild hydrocracking – I&EC Research Nov 2020.

IFPEN’s experimental methodology using HTT Flowrence units by Avantium

The aim of the paper is to illustrate a global experimental methodology used by IFPEN in order to optimize the operation of hydroprocessing units at the refinery.  This involves the selection of the best catalyst stacking or combination [hydrotreatment catalyst(s) + hydrocracking catalyst(s)] and  choosing the optimal operating conditions.

  1. The methodology used by IFPEN is based on the use of High Throughput Testing (HTT) in order to quickly evaluate the performance of several stacked bed configurations in parallel. A 16-reactor Flowrence HTT unit by Avantium was used for this study. The global methodology consists of five steps and was demonstrated by the application of mild hydrocracking: A virtual screening for possible catalyst stacking and operating conditions based on kinetic modelling, and product property correlations.
  2. Defining the design of experiments in order to check the results provided by the kinetic models.
  3. Checking the virtual stacking using pilot plant tests. This was carried out by using a high throughput testing (HTT) experiment using a 16-reactor Flowrence HTT unit by Avantium.
  4. Testing the pre-screened catalyst stacking in a classical pilot plant (reactor volume around 50−200 cm3) in order to produce additional product volume for further analysis.
  5. Updating the kinetic models using the new experimental points.

This paper also shows that: (1) it is possible to process refractory feedstock in the Avantium HTT experiment pilot plant; (2) catalyst ranking is similar in HTT and classical pilot plants; and (3) in mild hydrocracking, performances (HDS, HDN, and HDC) are similar between HTT and classical pilot plants.

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