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Refining/Petrochemical Integration – FCC Gasoline to Petrochemicals

The global trend in motor fuel consumption favors diesel over gasoline, with gasoline often being in surplus. There is a simultaneous increase in demand for various petrochemicals such as propylene and aromatics. Technology providers have been successful to utilize the Fluid Catalytic Cracking (FCC) unit as a method to produce propylene by high severity operation, but the potential for other petrochemicals 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. A novel technology is now available 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 combination of technology is much more efficient than methods that some operators use, which recycles FCC gasoline to the reforming unit.