Catalyst users

Catalyst selection affects the performance of the unit in terms of pressure drop, activity, selectivity and stability and, consequently, the throughput and productivity of a unit, and ultimately the profitability of the refinery complex or petrochemical plant. Thus, it is important to select the best catalyst for the required duty and to look after the catalyst during its deployment in the unit.

Selection of the best catalyst for the unit starts with writing the correct enquiry document (RFQ, ITB), including all relevant criteria in terms of the required mechanical integrity, activity, selectivity and stability. The selected catalyst needs to be inspected upon arrival , and it must meet the mechanical and chemical guarantees provided by the supplier. It needs to be loaded by specialised companies, using best practices, state-of-the-art equipment and trained personnel. Once the reactor has been loaded, it needs to be started up in accordance with the supplier’s instructions. Critical steps need to be discussed beforehand to avoid improvisation during this critical phase. Once the unit has been started up and lined out and other refinery units are also in normal operational mode, the freshly loaded unit needs to be subjected to a performance test run to determine whether the actual performance is in line with predicted performance (guarantees).

Catalyst Intelligence can assist in writing the complete enquiry document, evaluating the offers, performing side-by-side activity tests, modelling to convert laboratory activity test results into a prediction on performance in the actual unit, catalyst selection, inspection on site, loading, starting up and conducting the performance test run in the unit. Procedures will be documented and findings recorded in a report.

During the catalyst cycle Catalyst Intelligence can assist with unit monitoring and modelling to assist in optimal deployment of the catalyst activity. Being able to process low cost feedstock into high value products helps to improve unit margins. Similarly being able to co-process bio-based feedstocks in an existing unit can help meet a market demand and increase margins. On the other hand “over-treating” and a high consumption of hydrogen can result in increased costs and lower margins. In short, unit optimization will depend on feedstock availability, market demand, product specs, hardware capabilities, and catalyst performance. We can assess the performance and predict how it will respond to a change in duty, and this allows the user to make an informed decision on how to deploy the catalyst activity for getting a high margin within the constraints of the unit.

At the end of its life cycle, the catalyst needs to be unloaded, packaged and sent for regeneration and rejuvenation or metals recovery. Catalyst Intelligence can assist in finding the right catalyst service provider, setting up the analytical strategy to determine contamination levels and advising on regeneration and reuse, or metal recovery. Analysis of the spent catalyst at the end of its cycle can give important clues on the deactivation mechanism, and this information can be used to decide on future loading diagrams / catalyst selection.

See also our blog with articles that might interest you.