To produce more environnementally-friendly fuels, IFP Energies nouvelles seeks to address three major challenges: conversion of increasingly heavy crudes, compliance with ever more stringent standards and reduction of CO2 emissions related to the processes.
Demand for heavy fuels is falling whereas their proportion in world oil supplies is increasing. It is therefore necessary to develop increasingly efficient conversion technologies. Petroleum with a high technological content (extra-heavy crudes, deep offshore, tar sands, oil shale, etc.), which will play a growing role in extending oil and gas reserves, will also require specific technologies.
For the conversion of residues and heavy crudes into fuels and combustibles, IFP Energies nouvelles is continuing to develop hydroconversion processes and catalysts.
A strategic analysis was finalized in 2011 to assess market opportunities associated with the scheduled evolution in the sulfur content of marine fuels. Analysis of these market opportunities led to the launch of a new project aimed at developing an innovative process for the combined production of distillates and low-sulfur fuels.
In addition, since the refining industry generates significant amounts of CO2 (especially heavy conversion processes), IFP Energies nouvelles is examining the possibility of integrating CO2 capture and storage processes in refineries.
The other significant market trend is the growth in diesel demand, while gasoline demand is dropping. This phenomenon – for the time being primarily in Europe – is now tending to spread internationally. As a result of this, there is a need to further adapt refining facilities. To this end, IFP Energies nouvelles is working on the development of several technological solutions. The development of an FCC Fluidized-bed catalytic craking process oriented towards maxi distillates was finalized in 2011. Innovative options for hydrocracking catalysts offering very significant savings in terms of middle distillate sensitivity have
In addition and once again with a view to meeting this increasing demand for middle distillates, IFP Energies nouvelles is also developing a process for the oligomerization of FCC light cuts towards kerosene and diesel pools.
The tightening-up of standards and regulations related to fuels is continuing and being extended on a global level: widespread application of the European specification limiting the sulfur content of gasolines and diesel to 10 ppm, reduction of the olefin and benzene content of gasolines, reduction in the polyaromatic content of diesel, etc.
Where gasoline production is concerned, IFP Energies nouvelles is working on the development of catalysts, along with hydrotreatment processes (such as Prime-G+TM for desulfurization), reforming processes and paraffin isomerization processes (to increase the octane number). In the field of reforming, the development of a new range of catalysts was finalized in 2011.
For the production of diesel and kerosenes, IFP Energies nouvelles is working on the improvement of catalysts and hydrodesulfurization processes. The main focus is on increasing the activity and stability of catalysts in order to reduce the running costs of refineries.
In 2011, significant improvements in activity were achieved incorporating additives in diesel hydrotreatment catalysts.
High-throughput experimentation & molecular modeling, a winning duo
To be able to evaluate new catalysts more rapidly, IFP Energies nouvelles has parallel testing equipment, making it possible to accelerate selection through the simultaneous testing of a high number of molecules. Thanks to this new equipment, IFP Energies nouvelles can:
In addition, molecular modeling is employed to test for the most suitable reagents. The bringing into production of these highly parallel tools on real feedstocks has made it possible to assess innovative concepts in the fiels of hydrotreatment catalysis and validate the latest generation of catalysts.
+ Research theme > Renewable energies > Fuels from biomass
+ Industrial development > Alternatives fuels
+ Vacuum distillates seen under a totally new light, by Marion Courtiade and Thomas Dutriez
+ Gaining a better understanding of the properties of heavy products, by Joëlle Eyssautier, Loïc Barré and Didier Espinat