HYDROCARBON PUBLISHING COMPANY
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A member of the Hydrocarbon Analytics Group
Publication date:2Q 2020
Just Published. Catalytic Reforming
Catalytic reforming transforms naphthenes and paraffins into aromatics and isoparaffins. This process serves two main objectives in the refinery: production of high-octane reformate for gasoline blending and production of high-value aromatics for the petrochemical industry. Straight-run naphtha from the crude unit is the most common feedstock, but gasoline-range streams from catalytic crackers, hydrocrackers, cokers, and visbreakers can be routed to the reformer to increase octane.
Despite a decrease in gasoline demand, there are opportunities for catalytic reformers to shift operations and take advantages of current market opportunities, namely increased production of aromatics. In addition to benzene and xylene, reformate also contains toluene and heavier aromatics, which can be converted to benzene and desired xylenes via hydrodealkylation, disproportionation, transalkylation, isomerization, or alkylation.
Newly patented catalysts and processes for maximizing the production of aromatics demonstrate the efforts to seize the opportunity for increased profits through catalytic reforming. Some refiners are also opting for integration with a nearby PC plant to boost aromatics output. The catalytic reformer becomes the "passageway" that takes in hydrocarbons from the traditional refining units and provides feedstocks for the aromatics complex, which mainly serves to recover benzene and paraxylene via separation units, but is also capable of recovering less desirable BTX components like toluene, ortho-xylene and meta-xylene.
Refiners are also focusing on maximizing hydrogen production from catalytic reformers due to greater hydrogen demand as more stringent fuel specifications are put in place necessitating greater hydrogen use in hydroprocessing units to meet these ultra-low requirements. Reformers supply considerable amounts of hydrogen needed for hydrotreating, hydrocracking, and isomerization.
Companies also continue to focus their research efforts on achieving reforming catalyst performance benefits such as improved activity, selectivity, stability, and resistance to carbon deposition. Commercial products have been offered and novel innovations have been introduced that aim to mitigate reforming unit corrosion and fouling concerns. And, finally, recent research work has detailed new processes, systems, and configurations designed to provide energy savings in catalytic reforming.
Additionally, the catalytic reforming section features the latest trends and technology offerings, including:
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Keywords: platinum catalysts, Pt catalysts, reformate, high octane, gasoline blending, aromatics production, byproduct hydrogen, semi-regenerative, cyclic, continuous, CCR, catalyst regeneration, benzene, toluene, xylene, BTX aromatics, Reid vapor pressure, RVP, oxygenate blending, ethanol, refinery-petrochemical integration, multimetallic catalysts, zeolite, promoter, additive, platinum recovery