Our solutions

Gasoline production and purification
Developing processes making it possible to produce cleaner gasolines

IFPEN’s research activities are designed to accompany changes taking place in the gasoline production and purification sector, a historic transformation resulting from:

  • IC engine efficiency gains,
  • the increasing use of low-carbon fuels,
  • advances in the field of electrification,
  • the development of new mobilities. 

A 0.9 MBd fall in the need for gasoline by 2040 compared to the situation in 2016
State incentives to improve gasoline quality with regulatory convergence concerning
•  sulfur content
•  the reduction in aromatic hydrocarbons
•  and higher octane levels
Maintain a competitive refining industry to guarantee energy independence, structured to accommodate considerable feed diversification 
Technologies enabling flexibility in terms of the fuel bases produced

IFPEN develops eco-efficient technological solutions to:

•  purify gasoline cuts and adapt them to regional challenges
•  foster the coupling of refining with petrochemicals, using oil feed conversion flows to improve the competitiveness of refining sites and accompany their adaptation to an evolving market.


Accompany the roll-out of increasingly stringent specifications in terms of air quality
Prime-G+™ gasoline hydrodesulfurization processes and catalysts

“A new Prime-G+ gasoline hydrodesulfurization process has been developed to adapt it to the expectations of the two principal markets:

  • the USA, where the tightening-up of specifications for sulfur (US Tier 3 standard in 2020) means refining facilities need to be remodeled. Our process design makes it possible to limit the investments required to adapt existing units,
  • Asia, and particularly China, where compliance with new standards goes hand in hand with a major constraint with respect to fuel octane levels. Here too, our process addresses this specific need, since it offers maximum octane retention while eliminating sulfur impurities.”

Philippe Leflaive

Philibert Leflaive, project manager, IFPEN


unité Prime G+
Prime G+ unit ©Axens

On average, 20% of the gasoline distributed at the pump around the world has been processed through a Prime-G+ unit.

logo_SymphonyImprove the quality of fuels to make their use more efficient
Symphony™ innovative catalytic reforming catalysts and processes 

 “Catalytic reforming is an essential step to convert light cuts from crude oil into fuel formulations. The high-performance catalysts in Axens’ Symphony™ range, developed as a result of IFPEN’s R&I activities, are used to produce high-octane gasoline. They stand out from other products on the market due to their superior performance, leading to enhanced process efficiency, and their hydrothermal stability, prolonging their lifespan. The success of Symphony™, which currently comprises 4 types of catalysts and more than 130 references, is based on the implementation of new concepts in the formulation of the catalyst supports and active phases. The current global leader in this field, Axens group is carrying out R&I work in partnership with IFPEN to improve the technology and develop new products.”

Pierre-Yves Le Goff, Global Market Manager Reforming, Isomerization, Axens 

Distillate production and purification
Develop processes to produce more environmentally-friendly fuels for the road transport and aviation sectors in order to improve air quality

Sustained global requirement out to 2040,
 to meet the mobility needs of emerging countries and
 support economic growth in these geographic zones (freight, aviation)
Acceleration and globalization of public policies to extend
 the strictest fuel specifications over the next 5 to 10 years
Ambition of COP21 to moderate the carbon footprint of industrial sectors


IFPEN proposes concrete solutions developed as a result of current - and future - progress, covering 
 processes and catalysts in the fields of:
•  diesel hydrodesulfurization
•  and the hydrocracking of heavy cuts


Innovation driving progress in hydrotreatment catalysts and processes: Prime-D™, Impulse™, HyC-10™, Craken™, HYK™

In order to produce cleaner fuels while reducing the environmental impact of processes, the refining industry needs access to ever more efficient catalysts. This constant optimization is made possible through innovation in terms of materials and the active phases of heterogeneous catalysts, areas that have been at the heart of progress made over the last 20 years or so. 

Innovation hinged around:

  • theoretical research, aimed at gaining a better understanding of and rationalizing the fundamental concepts governing catalyst reactivity,
  • as well as experimental approaches at the cutting-edge of analysis, catalysis and process experimentation technologies.  

This is the type of approach that enabled IFPEN to develop the Impulse™ process for the production of hydroprocessing (hydrotreatment of diesel, hydrocracking of vacuum distillates) catalysts, in partnership with TotalEnergies and Axens. A process that was designated “Best innovation in the oil and gas fields” for the 2013 GEP-AFTP Trophy awards.

The major steps in the design of a new catalyst:

Impulse Catalyst® - Infographic - © IFPEN

Cutting-edge mathematical and digital tools to support process simulation utile
So’Crack hydrocracking process simulator

In order to operate processes with a better compromise between performance, production costs and environmental impact, it is vital to have access to simulators making it possible to describe and predict industrial behaviors.

 “The new So’Crack simulator makes it possible to predict the performance of a hydrocracking process with a view to proposing the best possible catalyst chain. We can now count on a marked improvement in performance predictions, making it possible to ramp up the implementation of the process and propose innovative catalyst chains that fully exploit the synergies of the different catalytic functions. This result was made possible thanks to the efforts of our researchers in the fields of advanced analysis, process modeling and applied mathematics.”

Emmanuelle Guillon, project manager, IFPEN


Innovative technologies to improve the eco-efficiency of processes
HyQuench, Equiflow™ distributor platforms

Reactor technologies are essential for maximizing the catalytic efficiency of refining processes. The creation of new designs, such as that of the Hyquench distribution platform, draws on a combination of process engineering and fluid mechanics expertise. 

Heavy feed conversion processes
Facilitate the final conversion of the heaviest residues while reducing the environmental impact of processes and ensure compliance with environmental standards and constraints (IMO)

Need to limit final residues to ensure the economic optimization of refining facilities
Growing introduction of heavy and extra-heavy crudes: + 2 to 3 Mbd by 2040
Tightening-up of bunker fuel specifications by 2020 (IMO standard)


IFPEN technologies to convert heavy feeds into cleaner products while minimizing the energy footprint of processes


The lungs of the refinery, the key to refinery and petrochemical coupling: R2R™ catalytic cracking process

The FCC (Fluid Catalytic Cracking) cluster consists of the pretreatment of the FCC feeds and the FCC process itself, which treats an average of 25% of a refinery’s flow. The latter is being developed as part of the FCC Alliance, established 35 years ago by IFPEN, Axens, TotalEnergies and TechnipFMC. Research conducted in recent years has made it possible to:

  • treat heavier feeds,
  • increase the flexibility of the process in terms of feeds and target products (petrochemical and fuel bases),
  • and steer cracking towards petrochemicals on a large scale,
  • while reducing the environmental footprint.

"The market success enjoyed by the Alliance, the global leader in the field, is hinged around our experimental strengths built on pilot tests, technological developments (hydrodynamic study models) and advanced analytical tools, a pool of resources not found anywhere else in the world. The FCC Alliance’s framework contract was renewed at the beginning of 2019 for a period of 5 years."

Anne-Claire Pierron, FCC project, IFPEN


More than 50 licensed FCC units in the world

A major change in the refining field: IMO specifications for marine fuels

The tightening-up of specifications imposed by the International Maritime Organization (IMO) for marine fuels by 2020 is set to be reinforced:

  • the need for residue conversion and hydrodesulfurization processes,
  • the need for conversion distillate hydrodesulfurization processes,
  • combined with other technological solutions (flue gas treatment, alternative fuels, incorporation of distillates in the pool).

These regulations are set to have a substantial impact on the way unrefined residues are managed, reinforcing the needs for deep conversion in order to eliminate the production of these sulfur-laden products. 

“New IMO regulations impose more restrictive specifications for marine fuels by 2020: their sulfur content will have to be below 0.5% in order to limit sulfur oxide (SOx) emissions, which are harmful to health. This should lead to a considerable improvement in air quality. These standards reinforce the need for residue conversion and hydrodesulfurization processes. To address this, we are working to improve the H-Oil™ process, which already offers conversion rates in excess of 90%, in order to optimize its economic and environmental performance. We have also developed an innovative process enabling the simultaneous production of an ultra-low sulfur marine fuel and high-value distillates: thanks to the integration of desulfurization and conversion operations, its energy and economic efficiency have been optimized.”

Wilfried Weiss, chef de projet, IFPEN

Wilfried Weiss, project manager, IFPEN


localisation du controle des emissions de souffre

Reducing sulfur emissions in shipping: an economic and technological challenge
Technical report - Panorama 2018

Fuel formulation

Find here the solutions offered by IFPEN to optimize fuel use.


The impact of fuels

IFPEN has expertise in fuel technologies (conventional and alternative) and combustion systems adapted to each fuel, enabling it to offer a comprehensive range of services, particularly the qualification of processes: economic and environmental impact, characteristics and functional properties for land, aviation and maritime applications.



Magalie Roy-Auberger

  • Program manager: "Middle distillate production and purification" and "Gasoline production and purification"

Abdelhakim Koudil

  • Program manager: "Conversion of residues and heavy crudes", "Biomass to chemicals" and "Gas treatment and conversion"