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Catalytic Naphtha Reforming: A Novel Control System for the Bench-Scale Evaluation of Commercial Continuous Catalytic Regeneration Catalysts

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journal contribution
posted on 18.05.2017, 00:00 authored by Enrico Caricato, John H. Hoffeldt, P. D. Riekert Kotze, Jared A. Lloyd, Nicolaas M. Prinsloo, Carel J. Swanepoel
An automated control system was developed for the bench-scale evaluation of continuous catalytic regeneration (CCR) naphtha reforming catalysts. Deactivation of these catalysts is too rapid for fixed bed operation, and regenerating the catalyst continually is not feasible on bench scale. To emulate the commercial process, a solution was required which would allow catalyst evaluation at a constant research octane number (iso-RON). Because changes are too fast for manual adjustment (especially when using Fischer–Tropsch naphtha), automated adjustment of process conditions was required. This was achieved through the use of simple matrix algebra, semiautomated gas chromatography and on-line near-infrared (NIR) analyses. Commercial catalysts with very small activity and reformate yield differences, could be compared and their RON versus yield correlations determined. Product samples large enough for engine research octane number (RON) analyses could also be collected at steady state. Through the use of multidisciplinary analytical and advanced process control techniques, substantial improvement of bench-scale piloting methodology in naphtha reforming was obtained.