Reaction & Synthesis

BASF Catalyst Helps Refiners Meet Higher Diesel Demand


Apr 15, 2009

BASF Catalysts recently announced the commercial launch of proprietary new technology that is said to enable petroleum refiners to utilize their current gasoline-oriented fluid catalytic cracking (FCC) units to meet the increased global demand for diesel fuel.

BASF's HDXtra catalyst helps refiners increase diesel yields by maximizing production of the light-cycle oil (LCO) produced from the FCC unit. The LCO can be blended or further upgraded to augment the refiner's production of high quality diesel fuel, according to the company. This technology, combined with optimized operating conditions, enables refiners' to increase LCO yield up to a 10% volume increase, with nearly half of the benefit attributable to catalyst selectivity.

"Over the past 50 years there has been a gradual trend toward increased FCC conversion that has primarily produced gasoline versus heavier fuels, such as diesel, among the world's refiners," said Joe McLean, Global Marketing Manager for refining catalysts at BASF Catalysts. "Recently this trend has dramatically switched to increased demand for diesel fuel from FCC units that, generally, are not easily converted for such production."

HDXtra offers higher functionality by providing high matrix activity combined with good coke selectivity. The catalyst also uses moderate zeolite activity, which better controls the amount of LCOs cracking into gasoline while also offering low H-transfer activity, which preserves more hydrogen in LCOs for minimal cetane penalty, a key measure of diesel quality.

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