A desulfurization catalyst described as the “biggest step forward in hydroprocessing since it was invented during Word War II” has been introduced by Akzo Nobel.
The Nebula catalyst—developed by Akzo Nobel Catalysts in collaboration with ExxonMobil and Nippon Ketjen—is twice as efficient in the removal of sulfur from diesel than existing technologies.
In some cases, the breakthrough catalyst—which is capable of reducing diesel sulfur levels to 10 parts per million (ppm)—can also help to achieve these ultralow levels without the need for large-scale investment in new units.
“The production of 10 ppm sulfur diesel is not difficult and can be done with the older generation of catalysts,” explained Jon Meijnen, president of Akzo Nobel’s transportation fuel catalysts division. “The challenge, however, is to do this efficiently, with a relatively small reactor, while minimizing hydrogen consumption—Nebula does this.”
Nebula, designed to satisfy refiners’ needs to meet stringent EU and U.S. sulfur emissions regulations for fuels, has been tested in three commercial refineries and, in each case, it generated diesel with a sulfur content of 2 ppm to 3 ppm at the lower temperature.
The refineries were previously producing diesel with a sulfur content up to 350 ppm. Added Meijnen: “Many refiners could drop in this catalyst and start making less than 10 ppm sulfur diesel with little or no capital investment.”
Nebula’s benefits will be discussed at the TOCAT catalyst conference being held in Japan in July.
(Released: April 8, 2002)