State-owned IndianOil has successfully developed and commercialized a technology to co-process non-edible vegetable oil in the existing diesel hydrotreating (DHDT) units of a petroleum refinery. This marks the first time in India when Jatropha oil has been used for co-processing in a petroleum refinery. This technology was developed by the R&D Center of IndianOil located at Faridabad.
During the development of this process technology, IndianOil has also developed a process for de-metallization and de-gumming of vegetable oils. De-metallization of oils is a pre-requisite for co-processing since metals are poisonous for the catalyst in the DHDT unit.
A total quantity of 200 tonnes of Jatropha oil was supplied by CREDA Biofuels Limited (a JV of Indian Oil and Chhattisgarh Renewable Energy Development Authority). The de-metallized and de-gummed Jatropha oil was subsequently co-processed in the Chennai Petroleum Corporation Limited (CPCL) Refinery at Manali. Successful co-processing was demonstrated in the DHDT Unit of the refinery.
Operating with a specific catalyst developed by the R&D Center of IndianOil, the DHDT unit used up to 6.5% of Jatropha Oil along with the refinery stream. During the trial, the diesel cetane number improved by 2 units, sulfur content reduced and the inlet temperature of the reactor could also be reduced by 100 °C with resultant energy savings.