From Black Oil to Silver Fuel: Slurry Hydrocracking of Heavy Oil


Alak Bhattacharyya
Research and Development Fellow
UOP (A Honeywell Company)

Abstract:  An increasing portion of the world’s oil reserves consist of heavy oil that produces low yields of useful products when processed with existing coking technologies.  In the UOP UniflexTM process, the coke yield is lower and the product yield is higher.  Here the catalyst, a non-stoichiometric, crystalline ferrous sulfide, is formed in-situ from ferrous sulfate.  Although molybdenum catalysts have a stronger hydrogenation function than iron, molybdenum is expensive and cannot be used as a disposable catalyst.  UOP Research has evaluated numerous alternative catalysts and identified a superior Fe/Al/O catalyst, which forms nano-crystallites of the active sulfide form, as the preferred one.  The activity, selectivity, and the stability of a catalyst depend on the various physical and chemical properties of the intermediate ferrous sulfide. This paper will discuss the factors that show the superiority of the Fe/Al/O nano-catalysts for slurry hydrocracking of heavy oil.

Bio:  Alak Bhattacharyya, an R&D Fellow, has been with UOP/Honeywell for a total of about ten years and has led teams and groups working with refinery SOx and NOx control, heavy oil slurry hydrocracking catalyst development, hot gas desulfurization, green jet fuel development, FCC dry gas ethylene utilization, and breakthrough ionic liquid applications. Currently, Alak leads several ionic liquid projects related to catalysis, solvent extraction of fuel pollutants, and solvent for oxidation reactions. Previously, Alak spent 18 years with Amoco and BP and was involved with discovery and commercialization of several novel technologies in the areas of terephthalic acid and butanediol.  Alak published more than 40 research articles and over 85 U.S. Patents, granted and pending.  undefinedundefined

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