Refining/Petrochemical Integration – FCC Gasoline to Petrochemicals
Global trends in motor fuel consumption favor diesel over gasoline. With the declining demand and restrictions of government regulations, there is a surplus of FCC gasoline. At the same time, there is an increase in demand for various petrochemicals such as propylene and aromatics. Technology providers have been successful to use the Fluid Catalytic Cracking Unit as a method to produce propylene by high severity operation, but the gasoline yield from these units has been neglected.
Cat cracked gasoline contains a high level of olefins, some sulfur, and appreciable aromatics. Until now, the aromatics were not wanted due to the olefin and sulfur impurities in this stream. New technology is being commercialized to separate the aromatics from FCC gasoline in order to use them directly for downstream applications. Additionally, the olefin fraction can be converted into aromatics through a simple fixed-bed reaction system. Thus all of the gasoline components are efficiently made into high-value petrochemicals.
This approach also synergistically reduces the sulfur and olefins content in the gasoline moving towards an environmentally acceptable specification. This combination of technology is much more efficient than what some operators use, which recycles FCC gasoline to the reforming unit.