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Axens and Headwaters Technology Innovation partner on residual heavy oil upgrading

Axens has entered into a technology alliance with Headwaters Technology Innovation (HTI) to promote the combined use of Axens’ and HTI’s technologies to produce clean liquid fuels from residual heavy oil (“bottom-of-the-barrel”, or what remains of crude oil after gasoline and the distillate fuel oils are extracted).

The alliance enables the companies to offer HTI’s proprietary HCAT Hydrocracking Technology in conjunction with Axens’ H-Oil ebullated bed (a type of moving bed reactor) hydrocracking process for resid upgrading.

HCAT technology is a proprietary, patented catalyst that improves residue hydrocracking, creating higher-residue conversion to lighter distillates such as diesel and gasoline.

Axens’ H-OilRC (RC stands for Resid Cracking) process uses ebullated-bed catalytic hydrocracking technology to process heavy feedstock residues (Atmospheric and Vacuum Residue) with high metals, sulfur, nitrogen, asphaltenes and solid contents.

This technology has been in development over the past 50 years, with one of the first units started in 1968 and still in operation today. Ebullated bed hydrocracking reactors are currently in use at 12 refineries around the world, Axens says, with several new H-Oil Units in development.

While all ebullated bed systems are designed to attain relatively high levels of residual oil conversion (50 to 85% depending on the feedstock), the combination of the H-Oil and HCAT Technologies, through the addition of HTI’s proprietary liquid catalyst precursor, enables even higher performance levels, either through enabling higher conversion levels than were previously possible, or by allowing refiners to utilize poorer-quality, lower cost crude oil feedstocks, the partners said.

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