Albemarle To Offer Nebula Catalyst Via Hydroprocessing Alliance


Jul 22, 2009

Albemarle Corp., a producer of catalyst products and technologies, recently announced that it will offer the Nebula catalyst in hydrocracking and hydrotreating applications as part of the Hydroprocessing Alliance, the company’s strategic alliance with UOP, a Honeywell company.
Nebula catalyst is an innovative material jointly discovered by ExxonMobil Research and Engineering Company and co-developed with Albemarle that offers greater catalyst activity and can enhance diesel yield and quality in hydrocracking and hydrotreating applications. Researchers of the two companies were recognized by the American Chemical Society as "Heroes of Chemistry" for their work in the development of the Nebula catalyst, which was hailed as a unique and more environmentally sustainable catalyst for the production of cleaner diesel fuels.  The Hydroprocessing Alliance will now offer the Nebula catalyst for reloads and revamps of hydrocracking and hydrotreating units for fuels applications.

The Nebula catalyst is a base-metal catalyst with higher activity than conventional hydrotreating catalysts. Nebula's high hydrodenitrogenation (HDN) and hydrodearomatization (HDA) activities can debottleneck hydrocrackers that have limited hydrotreating activity.  Additionally, Nebula enables the production of ULSD without additional capital investment and can enhance hydrotreating unit revamps to reach higher throughputs or achieve higher product quality standards. It has been used in more than 40 applications since its introduction in 2001. 

“Nebula's proven operational flexibility and superior performance are strong additions to the Alliance portfolio of cost effective solutions required in today’s market,” said Marc Nicolas, director of Albemarle’s Alliance activities.  “In just three years Alliance efforts have resulted in the licensing of 61 hydrotreating units. We look forward to our continued work with UOP to provide superior products, technologies and consultative services that bring significant value and support the short and long-term business objectives of our clients.”

“The Nebula catalyst can be used as a drop-in for hydrocracker reloads to allow them to produce more ULSD without costly modifications to the unit,” said UOP Alliance Director Jim Kennedy. “This is a distinct advantage as the demand for diesel continues to grow and environmental specifications get stricter. We are very pleased that the Hydroprocessing Alliance can now make this important product available to our customers.”

UOP and Albemarle formed the Hydroprocessing Alliance in 2006 to support the production of clean transportation fuels worldwide.  The alliance combines the strengths of UOP, a developer of hydrotreating and hydrocracking process technology and hydrocracking catalyst, and Albemarle, a developer and supplier of innovative refinery hydrotreating catalysts and technologies, to provide the refining industry with a broad portfolio of process and catalyst offerings for middle distillate hydrotreating, vacuum gas oil hydrotreating, mild hydrocracking, hydrocracking, and fixed-bed residue hydrotreating.

Albemarle is a CP 50 company. To view the Albemarle profile, visit:

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