Globally, crudes are becoming heavier yielding higher amount of residues enriched with contaminants. On the other hand, the demand of heavy distillate (fuel oil) is decreasing. Therefore, the foremost challenge to the refiners is to upgrade the residual streams to lighter valuable products for sustaining the refinery margin.
Considering the above, Indian Oil R&D has developed a novel technology, INDMAX, to produce a high yield of light olefins and high octane gasoline from various petroleum fractions. The technology has been demonstrated by setting up a unit at Guwahati Refinery of IndianOil in 2003. Recently the technology was commissioned in Paradip refinery Odisha.
About The Technology
Process description INDMAX employs circulating fluidized bed Riser-Reactor-Stripper configuration similar to conventional FCC technology along with single stage full combustion Regenerator system.
The catalyst system and operating conditions employed in INDMAX process are tailor-made and different from the conventional FCC technology.
The specially designed catalyst of the INDMAX process consists of various synergistic components for up gradation of heavy molecules maximizing conversion with higher light olefins selectivity.
Highly attractive yields of light olefins (ethylene, propylene, and butylenes), Toluene and Xylene for integration with Petrochemical complexes.
Higher octane of gasoline (RON > 96).
Capability to handle a wide range of feedstocks.
Operability at a wide range of severities with a given hardware to maximize either light olefins or high octane gasoline depending on refiner’s objective.
Lower catalyst consumption owing to lower regenerator temperature with a given feedstock and excellent metal tolerance of catalyst.
About Octane rating of Fuel
Octane rating or octane number is a standard measure of the performance of an engine or aviation fuel. The higher the octane number, the more compression the fuel can withstand before detonating (igniting). In broad terms, fuels with a higher octane rating are used in high-performance gasoline engines that require higher compression ratios.
In contrast, fuels with lower octane numbers are ideal for diesel engines, because diesel engines (also referred to as compression-ignition engines) do not compress the fuel, but rather compress only air and then inject fuel into the air which was heated by compression.
Gasoline engines rely on ignition of air and fuel compressed together as a mixture, which is ignited at the end of the compression stroke using spark plugs. Therefore, the high compressibility of the fuel matters mainly for gasoline engines.
Use of gasoline with lower octane numbers may lead to the problem of engine knocking
Other Technologies being used in the hydrocarbon sector
Fluid catalytic cracking (FCC) is one of the most important conversion processes used in petroleum refineries. It is widely used to convert the high-boiling, high-molecular-weight hydrocarbon fraction of petroleum crude oils to more valuable gasoline, olefinic gases, and other products
The Fischer–Tropsch process
The Fischer–Tropsch process (or Fischer–Tropsch Synthesis or F-T) is a set of chemical reactions that convert a mixture of carbon monoxide gas and hydrogen gas into liquid hydrocarbons (fossil fuels like gasoline or kerosene). The F-T process has received attention for many different reasons, for example, a way to produce low-sulfur diesel
Hydraulic fracturing (Fracking)
Hydraulic fracturing or fracking is often used to extract crude oil and natural gas from rock beds. It is a well-stimulation technique in which rock is fractured by a pressurized liquid.
The process involves the high-pressure injection of ‘fracking fluid’ (primarily water, containing sand or other proppants suspended with the aid of thickening agents) into a wellbore to create cracks in the deep-rock formations through which natural gas, petroleum, and brine will flow more freely.
When the hydraulic pressure is removed from the well, small grains of hydraulic fracturing proppants (either sand or aluminum oxide) hold the fractures open.
It is extensively used in the USA for exploration of shale oil.
The process has many potential environmental impacts, which include risks of ground and surface water contamination, air and noise pollution, and potentially triggering earthquakes, along with the consequential hazards to public health and the environment
UPSC asks many questions related to Latest technology in Prelims and well as mains
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