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Albemarle to introduce new STARS advanced hydrocracking pre-treat catalyst

Specialty chemicals company Albemarle will further strengthen its position in the hydrocracking pre-treat (HC-PT) market by unveiling a new advanced catalyst as part of its portfolio of high-activity STARS catalysts. Along with its Hydroprocessing Alliance partner UOP, Albemarle is in the final stages of pilot plant testing, and global rollout is expected in the second half of 2015.

STARS, developed by Nippon Ketjen Co., Ltd and Albemarle, was the first commercially available hydroprocessing catalyst technology that could deliver 100% Type II active sites.

Ketjenfine 757 and 848, the first catalysts in the STARS portfolio, were launched shortly before the introduction of clean fuels regulations in Japan, Europe and North America. These products delivered a step change in desulfurization performance that helped refiners substantially reduce capital expenditure and increase revenue from early adoption incentives for clean fuels.

Today, approximately 30% of global diesel production involves STARS catalysts, according to Albemarle.

STARS spans catalysts for a range of applications: desulfurization; ULSD and hydrocracking pre-treat; FCC-pretreat; coker naphtha catalysts; and Nebula, for ultra deep desulfurization, denitrogenation and dearomatization at medium to high pressures. The current portfolio has three catalysts in the hydrocracking pre-treat area.

The new STARS technology was also developed by Albemarle and Nippon Ketjen and will be available through Albemarle, Nippon Ketjen and the UOP-Albemarle Hydroprocessing Alliance.

Because of the competition in hydrocracking reloads, this is an area where have to be continually innovative in terms of new product velocity and focusing our R&D efforts on the price and performance characteristics demanded by our refining customers. We expect this new STARS catalyst to address a niche in medium- to high-pressure HC-PT operations.

—Carl van der Grift, vice president of Clean Fuels Technology

Albemarle develops, manufactures and markets technologically advanced and high value added products, including lithium and lithium compounds; bromine and bromine derivatives; and catalysts and surface treatment chemistries used in a wide range of applications including consumer electronics, flame retardants, metal processing, plastics, contemporary and alternative transportation vehicles, refining, pharmaceuticals, agriculture, construction and custom chemistry services.

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