American Fuel & Petrochemical Manufacturers

Annual Meeting — March 2015

At the American Fuel & Petrochemical Manufacturers annual meeting in 2015, Rive Technology provided background on Rive’s Molecular Highway™ technology and discussed how refiners, in preparation for the Tier 3 standards going into effect in the United States in 2017, are striving to find ways to reduce the sulfur content of their gasoline pool. Refiners have a limited number of options to reduce gasoline sulfur levels to meet the new 10 ppm requirement. For Tier 2 compliance, some refiners opted to install equipment for gasoline post-hydrotreating, which led to some octane loss. For Tier 3, removing the remaining, more difficult sulfur molecules may lead to more significant octane loss. Accordingly, alkylate has emerged as a preferred gasoline blending component, as it contains no sulfur, no olefins, no benzene and has a low vapor pressure and high octane number. Unfortunately, many refiners struggle to maximize their alkylate production due to a shortage of butylenes.

Rive has developed and commercialized Molecular Highway technology whereby a precise series of mesopores are engineered into Y zeolite, the primary active component of all FCC catalysts. These mesopores significantly improve diffusion of FCC feed molecules into and out of the zeolite crystals of the FCC catalyst.  Prior AFPM papers have focused on the value created by Molecular Highway technology through improved coke selectivity, enhanced bottoms upgrading, and decreased dry gas production.

Commercial trials across multiple refineries have also demonstrated Rive’s capability to increase butylenes production for a given set of operating conditions. These valuable, reactive molecules are quickly and efficiently channeled through the mesopores of the zeolite instead of succumbing to secondary and tertiary cracking reactions, which would turn them into butane and dry gas. In addition, many refiners in the United States utilize ZSM-5 additives to convert gasoline-range olefins to LPG olefins. Because Rive also preserves the olefinicity of the gasoline-range molecules, the combined system of Rive FCC catalyst with ZSM-5 additives has shown dramatic increases in butylenes yield.

This paper investigates Rive’s Molecular Highway technology and discuss how it can be applied to increase butylenes production in the FCC unit, allowing refiners to better respond to Tier 3 standards.


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