IFPEN’s experimental methodology using HTT Flowrence units by Avantium
The aim of the paper is to illustrate a global experimental methodology used by IFPEN in order to optimize the operation of hydroprocessing units at the refinery. This involves the selection of the best catalyst stacking or combination [hydrotreatment catalyst(s) + hydrocracking catalyst(s)] and choosing the optimal operating conditions.
- The methodology used by IFPEN is based on the use of High Throughput Testing (HTT) in order to quickly evaluate the performance of several stacked bed configurations in parallel. A 16-reactor Flowrence HTT unit by Avantium was used for this study. The global methodology consists of five steps and was demonstrated by the application of mild hydrocracking: A virtual screening for possible catalyst stacking and operating conditions based on kinetic modelling, and product property correlations.
- Defining the design of experiments in order to check the results provided by the kinetic models.
- Checking the virtual stacking using pilot plant tests. This was carried out by using a high throughput testing (HTT) experiment using a 16-reactor Flowrence HTT unit by Avantium.
- Testing the pre-screened catalyst stacking in a classical pilot plant (reactor volume around 50−200 cm3) in order to produce additional product volume for further analysis.
- Updating the kinetic models using the new experimental points.
This paper also shows that: (1) it is possible to process refractory feedstock in the Avantium HTT experiment pilot plant; (2) catalyst ranking is similar in HTT and classical pilot plants; and (3) in mild hydrocracking, performances (HDS, HDN, and HDC) are similar between HTT and classical pilot plants.