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Title:
PROCESS TO PRODUCE LOW SULFUR CATALYTICALLY CRACKED GASOLINE WITHOUT SATURATION OF OLEFINIC COMPOUNDS
Document Type and Number:
WIPO Patent Application WO/2009/070561
Kind Code:
A1
Abstract:
The invention relates to a process for the desulfurization of a gasoline fraction with high recovery of olefins and reduced loss of Research Octane Number (RON). A petroleum fraction is contacted with hydrogen and a commercially available hydrodesulfurization catalyst under mild conditions with to remove a first portion of the sulfur present, and is then contacted with an adsorbent for the removal of additional sulfur.

Inventors:
CHOI, Ki-Hyouk (656 Shararr Circle, Saudi AramcoP.O. Box 825, Dhahran ., 31311, SA)
AL-SHAREEF, Ali (Qadi Llias Street, AlNasira-Qatif, SA)
AL-GHAMDI, Sameer (Qurrayah Court, Saudi Aramco Main CampSaudi Arabia P.O. Box 890, Dhahran ., 31311, SA)
Application Number:
US2008/084632
Publication Date:
June 04, 2009
Filing Date:
November 25, 2008
Export Citation:
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Assignee:
SAUDI ARABIAN OIL COMPANY (1 Eastern Avenue, Dhahran, 31311, SA)
ARAMCO SERVICES COMPANY (9009 West Loop South, Houston, TX, 77210-4535, US)
CHOI, Ki-Hyouk (656 Shararr Circle, Saudi AramcoP.O. Box 825, Dhahran ., 31311, SA)
AL-SHAREEF, Ali (Qadi Llias Street, AlNasira-Qatif, SA)
AL-GHAMDI, Sameer (Qurrayah Court, Saudi Aramco Main CampSaudi Arabia P.O. Box 890, Dhahran ., 31311, SA)
International Classes:
C10G55/04; C10G67/06; C10G69/04
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
RHEBERGEN, Constance, Gall (Bracewell & Giuliani LLP, P.O. Box 61389Houston, TX, 77208-1389, US)
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Claims:

We claim:

1. A method for producing gasoline fraction having a reduced sulfur content comprising:

contacting an overcut heavy cat naphtha fraction with a hydrotreatϊng catalyst in the presence of hydrogen gas to remove at least a portion of the sulfur present in the overcut heavy cat naphtha fraction and produce a low sulfur hydrotreated heavy cat naphtha effluent;

contacting the low sulfur hydrotreated heavy cat naphtha effluent with a solid adsorbent at a temperature of between about 0 0 C and 100 0 C, wherein the solid adsorbent comprises a solid support; and

recovering a product stream having reduced sulfur content.

2. The method of claim 1 wherein the product stream has a sulfur content of less than 20 ppm.

3. The method of claim 1 wherein the product stream has a sulfur content of less than 10 ppm.

4. The method of claim 1 wherein contacting the overcut heavy cat naphtha with the hydrotreating catalyst removes up to 95% of the sulfur present and contacting the low sulfur hydrotreated heavy cat naphtha effluent with the adsorbent removes up to 95% of the remaining sulfur.

5. The method of claim 1 further comprising supplying the low sulfur hydrotreated heavy cat naphtha effluent to a liquid-gas separator to remove hydrogen and hydrogen sulfide from the effluent.

6. The method of claim 1 wherein the hydrotreating catalyst comprises:

a catalyst support selected from alumina, silica, silica-alumina, zeolite, synthetic clay, natural clay, activated carbon, activated carbon fiber and carbon black;

at least one metal selected from chromium, molybdenum, tungsten, nickel and cobalt; and

optionally including one or more of the elements selected from boron, nitrogen, fluorine, chlorine, phosphorous, potassium, magnesium, sodium, rubidium, calcium, lithium, strontium and barium.

7. The method of claim 1 wherein the adsorbent comprises metal species appended to the surface.

8. The method of claim 1 wherein the adsorbent comprises at least one Group IB metal and at least one Group HB metal.

9. The method of claim 8 wherein the Group IB metal is selected from copper and the Group IϊB metal is selected from zinc.

10. The method of claim 1 wherein the adsorbent is an activated carbon having a surface area greater than about 500 m 2 /g.

11. The method of claim 1 wherein at least a portion of the metal species are present as sulfides.

12. The method of claim 1 wherein the overcut heavy cat naphtha fraction is contacted with the hydrotreating catalyst at a temperature of between 300 0 C and 350 0 C and a pressures of between about 0.5MPa and 5MPa.

13. The method of claim 1 wherein the adsorbent is pretreated by pyrolyzing to a temperature of at least about 600 0 C in an inert atmosphere.

14. The method of claim 1 wherein the adsorbent is pretreated by heating to a temperature of between about 400 0 C and 600 0 C in a nitrogen atmosphere and an oxygen content of between about 0.1 vol.% and 5 vol.%.

15. The method of claim 1 wherein the adsorbent is pretreated by heating to a temperature of between about 250 0 C and 450 0 C in an atmosphere comprising nitrogen, oxygen and at least one of sulfur dioxide, nitrogen oxide and nitrogen dioxide.

16. The method of claim 1 further comprising regenerating the adsorbent; wherein regeneration of the adsorbent comprises washing the adsorbent with an organic solvent.

17. The method of claim 16 wherein the organic solvent is selected from toluene, benzene, xylene, straight run naphtha, ethanol, isopropanol, n-butanol, i-butanol, n-pentanol, i-pentanol, ketone, and mixtures thereof.

18. A process for producing a gasoline fraction having reduced sulfur content, comprising: separating a high boiling fraction from a full boiling point range catalytically cracking gasoline; contacting the high boiling fraction with a hydrotreating catalyst in the presence of hydrogen to remove a portion of the sulfur compounds and produce a hydrodesulfurization product; removing hydrogen sulfide and hydrogen gases from the hydrodesulfurization product to produce a stripper effluent; contacting the stripper effluent with a solid adsorbent to remove sulfur compounds and produce a gasoline fraction having reduced sulfur content; wherein the loss of Research Octane Number of the high boiling fraction is less than

2.

19. The process of claim 18, in which full boiling point range catalytically cracked gasoline is produced by fluidized catalytic cracking of light cycle oil, heavy cycle oil, vacuum gas oil, atmospheric resid, vacuum resid or their mixture.

20. The process of claim 18 wherein the high boiling fraction has boiling point range of about 6O 0 C to 25O 0 C.

2 L The process of claim 18 wherein the hydrotreating catalyst comprises:

at least one support material selected from alumina, silica, silica-alumina, zeolite, synthetic clay, natural clay, activated carbon, activated carbon fiber, and carbon black;

a metal selected from Group VIB of the periodic table and at least one metal selected Group VIIIB of the periodic table; and

at least one element selected from boron, nitrogen, fluorine, chlorine, phosphorous, potassium, magnesium, sodium, rubidium, calcium, lithium, strontium, barium.

22. The process of claim 18 wherein the adsorbent comprises at least one metal selected from Group IB of the periodical table and at least one metal selected from Group IϊB of the periodic table.

23. The process of claim 18 wherein the adsorbent is selected from silica, alumina, silica- alumina, zeolite, synthetic clay, natural clay, activated carbon, activated charcoal, activated carbon fiber, carbon fabric, carbon honeycomb, alumina-carbon composite, silica-carbon composite, and carbon black.

24. The process of claim 18 further comprising contacting the stripper effluent with a solid adsorbent in the absence of hydrogen.

Description:

PROCESS TO PRODUCE LOW SULFUR CATALYTICALLY CRACKED GASOLINE WITHOUT SATURATION OF OLEFINIC COMPOUNDS

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

Related Patent Application

[00Dl] This patent application claims priority to U.S. Provisional Patent Application Serial

No. 60/991,501, filed on November 30, 2007, which is incorporated by reference in its entirety.

Technical Field of the Invention

[0002] This invention relates generally to the field of hydroprocessing catalysts for treatment of heavy cat naphtha (HCN) to produce desirable low sulfur hydrocarbon products without causing saturation of olefinic products or the formation of hydrogen sulfide. Specifically, the invention relates to a process for the removal of sulfur from a partially desυlfurized naphtha stream.

Description of the Prior Art

[0003] In the petroleum industry, it is common for light gas oils, particularly middle distillate petroleum fuels, to contain sulfur species. Increasing concerns regarding pollutants present in the atmosphere have led to a desire to decrease the sulfur content of fuels used in engines, as engines and vehicles utilizing fuels which contain sulfur can produce emissions of nitrogen oxide, sulfur oxide and particulate matter. Government regulations have become more stringent in recent years with respect to allowable levels of the potentially harmful emissions. [0004] Gasoline fuel can generally be prepared by blending several petroleum fractions. Typical refineries blend catalytically cracked gasoline (CCG), coker gasoline, straight run naphtha, reformate, isomerate and alkylate to produce gasoline fuel having selected specifications. In blended gasoline, CCG produced from a fluid ized catalytic cracker or coker is responsible for a substantial portion of the sulfur content in the resulting blend.

Removal of sulfur contained in the CCG is an important step in meeting the regulations on sulfur content in gasoline fuel.

[0005] In the field of petroleum refining, CCG is a stock of high-octane number gasoline containing a certain amount of olefin components. CCG is a gasoline fraction that can be obtained by catalytically cracking a heavy petroleum fraction as a stock oil, such as vacuum gas oil, and recovering and distilling the catalytically cracked products. In addition, CCG is a primary blending stock of automotive gasoline.

[0006] While some stock oils have small sulfur content and may be subjected to catalytic cracking without treatment, stock oil generally has a relatively high content of sulfur compounds. When untreated stock oil having a high sulfur content is subjected to catalytic cracking, the resulting CCG will also have high sulfur content.

[0007] One prior art technique for the removal of sulfur compounds from petroleum fractions is by catalytic hydrodesulfurization, also known as HDS, a process in which a sulfur containing petroleum fraction is contacted with a solid catalyst in the presence of hydrogen gas at elevated temperature and pressure to effectuate the removal of the sulfur from the petroleum fraction. Exemplary hydrodesulfurization catalysts can include an alumina support, molybdenum sulfide, cobalt sulfide and/or nickel sulfide. Catalytic activity of the hydrodesulfurization catalyst can be increased with the addition of a third or fourth element, such as for example, boron or phosphorous. However, removal of sulfur under relatively severe conditions requires a highly active and highly selective catalyst for use at high reaction temperatures and pressures.

[0008] Catalytic desulfurization generally takes place at elevated temperature and pressure in the presence of hydrogen, and may often result in the hydrogenation of other compounds, such as for example, olefin compounds, which may be present in the petroleum fraction which is being desulfurized. Hydrogenation of olefin products is generally undesirable as the olefins are partially responsible for providing higher octane ratings of the feedstock. Thus, hydrogenation of olefin compounds may result in a decreased overall octane rating for the feedstock. If there is significant loss of octane rating during the hydrodesulfurization of the hydrocarbon stream, because of saturation of olefin compounds, the octane loss must be compensated for by blending substantial amounts of reforrnate, isomerate and alkylate into the gasoline fuel. The blending of additional compounds to increase the octane rating is expensive and detrimental to the overall economy of the refining process. [0009] Additionally, catalytic hydrodesulfurization can result in the formation of hydrogen sulfide as a byproduct. Hydrogen sulfide produced in this manner can recombine with

species present in the hydrocarbon feed, and create additional or other sulfur containing species. Olefins are one exemplary species prone to recombination with hydrogen sulfide to generate organic sulfides and thiols. This reformation to produce organic sulfides and thiols can limit the total attainable sulfur content which may be achieved by conventional catalytic desulfurization.

[0010] Because HCN has a higher final boiling point than LCN and contains a larger amount of sulfur containing compounds (in particular benzothiophene), more severe hydrotreating conditions are typically required to attain a low sulfur content in the final product. The severe hydrotreating conditions can result in significant saturation of olefin compounds, even though the number of olefin compounds present in the HCN is relatively low as compared with the LCN. This results in a loss of octane number (RON).

[0011] Some conventional sulfur removal processes attempt to overcome the problem of octane number reduction by making use of the non-uniform distribution of olefins and sulfur- containing species across the naphtha boiling range. Typically in naphtha, olefins are most concentrated and the sulfur concentration is lowest in the fraction which boils between about 3O 0 C and 100 0 C, i.e., the light cat naphtha fraction. Sulfur species are most concentrated and the olefin concentration is relatively low in the heavy cat naphtha boiling range, typically between about 90°C to about 23O 0 C. Generally, in the HCN fraction, a large amount of sulfur species exist at higher distillation temperatures. Specifically, a high number of sulfur containing species exist in the portion of the HCN fraction boiling between approximately 150°C and approximately 230"C. Sulfur species in the LCN fraction may be removed by caustic extraction without undesirable olefin saturation, while the HCN fractions generally require hydrotreating to remove the sulfur.

[0012] Because of the relatively high content of sulfur species in the higher boiling fraction of HCN, the industry currently only considers the HCN fraction between about 60°C and about 160°C, excluding the portion of the HCN fraction having a boiling point between about 160°C and about 230°C because of the high sulfur content.

[0013] Therefore, improved products and methods for the removal of sulfur compounds from heavy cat naphtha fractions are needed which minimize both the saturation of olefins and the formation of hydrogen sulfide byproducts.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

[0014] A hydrodesulfurization catalyst composition, a method for preparing a hydrodesulfurization catalyst and a method of removing sulfur compounds from petroleum feedstock is provided. More specifically, a method for the removal of sulfur compounds from overcut heavy cat naphtha (HCN).

[0015] In one aspect, a method for a producing gasoline fraction having reduced sulfur content is provided. The method includes the steps of contacting an overcut heavy cat naphtha fraction with a hydrodesulfurization catalyst in the presence of hydrogen gas to remove at least a portion of the sulfur present in the overcut heavy cat naphtha fraction and produce a low sulfur heavy cat naphtha effluent; contacting the low sulfur heavy cat naphtha effluent with a solid adsorbent that includes a solid support having metal species appended to the surface at a temperature of between about 0 0 C and about 100 0 C, and recovering a product stream having a reduced sulfur content,

[0016] In other embodiments the product stream has a sulfur content of less than about 10 ppm. In certain embodiments the step of contacting the overcut heavy cat naphtha with the hydrotreating catalyst removes up to about 95% of the sulfur present. In certain other embodiments the step of contacting the hydrotreated overcut heavy cat naphtha with the adsorbent can remove up to about 95% of the remaining sulfur.

[0017] In another aspect, a process for producing a gasoline fraction having reduced sulfur content is provided. The process includes the steps of separating a high boiling overcut heavy cat naphtha (HCN) fraction from a full boiling point range catalytically cracking gasoline (CCG), contacting the HCN fraction with a catalyst in the presence of hydrogen to remove a portion of the sulfur compounds and produce a hydrodesulfurization product, removing hydrogen sulfide and hydrogen gases from the hydrodesulfurization product to produce a stripper effluent, contacting the stripper effluent with a solid adsorbent to remove sulfur compounds and produce a gasoline fraction having reduced sulfur content, and wherein the loss of Research Octane Number of the overcut heavy cat naphtha is less than about 2,

Brief Description of the Drawings

[0018] So that the manner in which the features, advantages and objects of the invention, as well as others that will become apparent, may be understood in more detail, more particular description of the invention briefly summarized above may be had by reference to the embodiment thereof which is illustrated in the appended drawings, which form a part of this

specification. It is to be noted, however, that the drawings illustrate only a preferred embodiment of the invention and is therefore not to be considered limiting of the invention's scope as it may admit to other equally effective embodiments.

[0019] Figure 1 depicts a prior art apparatus for the desulfurization of a petroleum distillate. [0020] Figure 2 depicts one embodiment of an apparatus for the desulfurization of a petroleum distillate.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION

[002Ij In one aspect, a method is provided for the removal of sulfur from a hydrocarbon feedstock which is high in sulfur concentration with minimal saturation of olefins. Specifically, the method and catalyst composition are useful for removal of sulfur from overcut heavy cat naphtha (HCN) prepared from catalytically cracked gasoline (CCG). The method and catalyst compositions disclosed are useful for minimizing olefin saturation and minimizing production of hydrogen sulfide. In particular, the catalyst composition can be useful in the removal of sulfur from middle distillates produced at distillation temperatures typically ranging from about 90°C to about 230°C.

[0022] As used herein, overcut heavy cat naphtha (or overcut HCN) refers to a heavy cat naphtha fraction prepared from CCG having a distillation temperature of between about 90°C and about 230°C. The overcut HCN is distinguished from the portion of the HCN fraction typically used in industry today having a boiling point between about 60°C and about 160°C. As noted previously, in industry today, the HCN fraction having a boiling point between about 16O 0 C and about 230°C is typically not treated because of the high sulfur content. Thus, the present invention addresses the removal of sulfur from the entire HCN fraction, including the portion having a boiling point between about 160°C and about 230°C. [0023] Whole crude oil typically undergoes equilibrium separation treatments to separate light components from heavier components. The lighter fraction, such as gas oil, is typically processed and hydrotreated to create diesel, while the heavy fraction, such as vacuum gas oil (VGO), undergoes catalytic cracking to produce gasoline.

[0024] Catalytically cracked gasoline produced from a fϊuidized catalytic cracker (FCC) or coker can be responsible for a substantial portion of the sulfur present in gasoline. Thus, given the rigorous current standards for allowable sulfur content in fuels, as previously discussed, the removal of sulfur containing species is of increasing importance.

[0025) The desulfurization process disclosed herein includes at least two steps. In the first step, the overcut HCN stream that includes sulfur is treated in the hydrodesulfurization process under mild conditions to remove a majority of the sulfur present while at the same time minimizing the hydrogenation of olefins. The effluent from the hydrodesulfurization process can then be contacted with the adsorbent to further remove sulfur from the hydrocarbon stream, [0026] Hydrodesulfurizatipn

[0027] Hydrodesulfurization of an overcut HCN feedstream that contains sulfur can be performed using known hydrotreating catalysts and under mild conditions to partially remove sulfur species. The hydrodesulfurization step can be responsible for the removal of at least about 80% of the sulfur present, and in certain embodiments, can be responsible for the removal of about 90% of the sulfur present. Performing the desulfurization under mild conditions generally results in increased catalyst life time and reduced production of undesired byproducts. In addition, desulfurizing under mild conditions generally means performing the desulfurization at reduced temperature and pressure, which can be beneficial from an economic standpoint as well.

[0028] Generally, an overcut HCN feed stream having a boiling point range of between about 60°C and about 23O 0 C is supplied to a hydrotreating reactor which includes a conventional commercially available hydrotreating catalyst. A variety of hydrodesulfurization reactors can be employed, including for example, fixed bed reactors, trickle bed reactors, slurry bed reactors, and the like.

[0029] The desulfurization catalyst can include any known support material, including but not limited to, silica, alumina, silica-alumina, silicon dioxide, titanium oxide, activated carbon, zeolite, synthetic and natural clays, spent catalyst, and the like, and combinations thereof.

[0030] In certain embodiments, the desulfurization catalyst can include a metal selected from Group VIB of the periodic table, including chromium, molybdenum or tungsten. In certain other embodiments, the desulfurization can include a metal selected from Group VIIIB of the periodic table, including iron, ruthenium, osmium, cobalt, rhodium, iridium, nickel, palladium and platinum. Preferably, the metal is selected from chromium, molybdenum, tungsten, cobalt, nickel, and mixtures thereof. Cobalt-molybdenum, nickel-molybdenum and nickel-cobalt-molybdenum are preferred metal compositions for use in the hydrotreating catalyst These metals can be in the form of a metal, an oxide, a sulfide or a mixture thereof

on the support material. The metal can be supported on the support material by a known method, such as for example, impregnation or co-precipitation.

[0031] While specialized catalysts that have been designed for deep hydrodesulfurization without significant loss of olefin species can be employed in the present process, such catalysts are not required.

[0032] In an embodiment, the desulfurization reaction can be conducted at a temperature of between about 250°C and about 450°C, and preferably between about 270°C and about 350°C. The operating pressure can be between about 200 and about 800 psig, preferably between approximately about 250 and about 350 psig. The liquid hourly space velocity (LHSV (h "1 )) can be between about 2 and about 10, and preferably can be between about 5 and about 7. The volume of hydrogen Io oil (UL) can be between about 90 and about 150, and is preferably between about 100 and about 130. It is understood that one of skill in the art can alter the operating parameters listed above based upon the hydrotreating catalyst used, the sulfur content of the feed, and/or the desired sulfur content of the product stream. It is also understood that the exact hydrodesulfurization conditions employed can be less severe than those normally employed in instances wherein the hydrodesulfurization step is responsible for the removal of approximately 95% or more of the sulfur present in the feedstock. This minimizes undesirable side effects. [0033] Adsorbent

[0034] The effluent from the hydrotreating step can be supplied to a bed which includes an adsorbent material, for removal of a substantial portion the sulfur species remaining in the effluent.

[0035J The adsorbent can include a support material. Exemplary support materials include silica, alumina, silica-alumina, zeolite, synthetic clay, natural clay, activated carbon, activated charcoal, activated carbon fiber, carbon fabric, carbon honeycomb, alumina-carbon composite, silica-carbon composite, carbon black, and the like, and combinations thereof. One preferred support material is activated carbon.

[0036] The adsorbent particles can have a diameter of about 2 mm. In certain embodiments, the adsorbent particles preferably have a diameter of less than approximately about 20 mm. In the case of activated carbon fiber, the diameter of the fiber can be less than about 0.1 mm. In certain embodiments, the diameter of the activated carbon fiber can have a diameter of approximately 5 μm. The adsorbent can have an effective surface area of approximately 200 m 2 /g or greater. Preferably the effective surface area is approximately 500 m 2 /g or greater. More preferably, the effective surface area is approximately 1000 m 2 /g or greater.

[0037] In certain embodiments, the adsorbent particles can include metal components selected from the Group VIB and Group VIIIB elements of the periodic table. In certain embodiments, the adsorbent can include a Group VIB metal selected from chromium, molybdenum or tungsten, or combinations thereof. In other embodiments, the adsorbent can include a Group VIIϊB metal component selected from iron, ruthenium, osmium, cobalt, rhodium, iridium, nickel, palladium and platinum. In yet other embodiments the adsorbent can include at least one metal selected from the Group VIB metals listed above and at least one metal selected from the Group VIHB metals listed above. In certain preferred embodiments, the adsorbent includes molybdenum and at least one of nickel or cobalt. [0038] The adsorbent can also include other elements which are known promoters. Exemplary known promoters include, but are not limited to, boron and phosphorous. [0039] In certain embodiments, the adsorbent can include a metal selected from Group IB and Group HB of the periodic table, including copper and zinc. The Group IB metals are believed to assist in the trapping of sulfur molecules. In certain embodiments, the adsorbent can include copper.

[0040] The adsorbent can optionally be pre-treated by chemical, thermal or physical means prior to contact with the sulfur containing overcut HCN stream,

[θ041] In one embodiment, the adsorbent can be pretreated by pyrolysis. Specifically, the adsorbent can be heated to a temperature greater than about 600 0 C in an argon atmosphere for a period of approximately 3 hours. In certain embodiments, the adsorbent is pretreated by heating to a temperature greater than about 800 0 C in an argon atmosphere for a period of approximately 2 hours. In certain preferred embodiments, the adsorbent is pretreated by heating to a temperature between about 700 0 C and about 850 0 C in an argon atmosphere for a period of approximately 2.5 hours. The thermal pretreatraent can remove species that are bound to the surface of the adsorbent particles, such as for example, carbon monoxide, carbon dioxide and water.

[0042] In another embodiment, the adsorbent can be pretreated by heating to between about 400 0 C and about 600 0 C in a nitrogen atmosphere containing up to approximately 1% by volume oxygen for a period of approximately 1 hour. In another embodiment, the adsorbent can be pretreated by healing to approximately 500 0 C in a nitrogen atmosphere containing up to approximately 0.5% by volume oxygen for a period of approximately 90 minutes. Without being bound to a specific theory, this process is believed to generate carbonyl type surface species or other active surface species and may create additional pores by a surface combustion effect.

[0043] In another embodiment, the adsorbent can be pretreated by heating to between about 300°C and about 400 0 C in a nitrogen atmosphere, and exposing the adsorbent to up to approximately 1% by volume to a mixture of oxygen and sulfur dioxide, nitrogen oxide or nitrogen dioxide. The sulfur and nitrogen species are generally easily attached to the surface of the adsorbent. This process can be used to prepare a surface on the adsorbent that is rich in SO 3 and NO 2 species, which can then be used for oxidative desulfurization of the overcut HCN effluent from the hydrotreating step. [0044] Regeneration of the Adsorbent

[0045] Regeneration of the adsorbent can be achieved by washing the adsorbent with common organic solvents to remove adsorbed sulfur species, followed by drying. Exemplary organic solvents useful for the regeneration of the adsorbent can include, but are not limited to, benzene, toluene, xylene, straight run naphtha, ethanol, isopropanol, n-butanol, isobutanol, n-pentanol, isopentanol, ketones, and mixtures thereof. However, it is understood that the list of organic solvents provided is merely exemplary and that a variety of different solvents may be employed in the regeneration of the adsorbent species.

[0046] The adsorbent can be washed with about 5 or more equivalent volumes of organic solvent to remove the adsorbed sulfur. In certain embodiments, the adsorbent can be washed with between about 7 and about 15 equivalent volumes of organic solvent. In certain embodiments, at least approximately 10 equivalent volumes of organic solvent can be used to wash the adsorbent. The organic solvent wash can be sampled after the washing step to determine whether the adsorbed sulfur has been sufficiently removed from the adsorbent. Such sampling may be integrated and automated, as is known in the art. The organic solvent can be treated to remove sulfur containing species and recycled to the regeneration step. [0047] The washed adsorbent particles can be dried at a temperature between about 10 0 C and about 15O 0 C. In an exemplary embodiment, the washed adsorbent particles can be dried at a temperature of between about 30 0 C and about 70 0 C. Additionally, the adsorbent can be regenerated under a vacuum pressure of between about 1 mmHg and about 300 mmHg. During regeneration, the adsorbent particles can be subjected to flowing gas. Exemplary gases include air, nitrogen, helium, argon, and the like. In one preferred embodiment, the flowing gas is an inert gas. In another preferred embodiment, the flowing gas can be nitrogen or air,

[00^8] Desulfurization Procedure

[0049] Prior art desulfurization procedures generally employ a single step hydrodesulfurization process, as shown in FIG. 1. As shown, an HCN fraction containing

approximately 1000 ppm sulfur is supplied to a commercial hydrodesulfiirization apparatus, which is operated at conditions operable to achieve a product stream having approximately 10 ppm sulfur (i.e., removal of approximately 99% of the sulfur). While specific operating conditions can vary, it is generally accepted that operating a hydrodesulfurization apparatus at the conditions operable to remove the substantial majority of the sulfur present will require relatively high temperature and pressure, and will likely result in the saturation of some olefin species. In certain embodiments, the hydrodesulfurization reactor can be operated at conditions operable for the removal of at least about 90% of the sulfur species. In another embodiment, the reactor can be operated at conditions operable for the removal of at least about 95% of the sulfur species. As noted previously, saturation of olefins in the HCN stream can result in a loss of octane number. A loss of RON (research octane number) of at least about 2-3 is common in the hydrodesulfurization of an HCN feed wherein the hydrodesulfurization reactor is operated at conditions operable for the removal of sulfur to achieve a sulfur content of less than about 25 ppm. As noted previously, a loss of RON can require the addition of octane boosting additives, to achieve the desired properties of the resulting gasoline.

[0050] Additionally, as shown in FIG. 1, the prior art methods of desulfurizatϊon can require frequent sampling of the desulfurized product stream to ensure adequate removal of sulfur. When the product stream is below the desired specification, i.e., when the sulfur content of the product stream is higher than the minimum desired specification, the stream can be retreated to decrease the sulfur content in the product stream. Exemplary methods can include resupplying the product stream to an HDS unit for additional removal of sulfur, or blending of the off-specification HCN sample with a volume of HCN having much lower sulfur content than off-specification HCN.

[0051] As shown in FIG. 2, a method is provided for the desulfurization of an HCN stream having an initial sulfur content of approximately 1000 ppm. The HCN stream is supplied via line 110 to conventional hydrodesulfurization unit 112. Hydrodesuifurization unit 112 can include a catalytic reactor for the removal of sulfur from the HCN stream, such as for example a fixed bed hydrotreating reactor.

[0052] The catalytic hydrotreating reactor can include a commercially available hydrodesulfurization catalyst, such as for example, a cobalt-molybdenum or a nickel - molybdenum catalyst on an alumina support material. The catalytic reactor can be operated at relatively mild conditions to remove a major portion of the sulfur contained in the HCN stream. In certain embodiments, the catalytic reactor can be operated to produce effluent

114, which includes between about 50 and about 200 ppm sulfur. More preferably, the catalytic reactor is operated to produce effluent 114 which includes approximately 100 ppm sulfur. In certain embodiments, hydrodesulfurization unit 112 removes at least about 85% of the sulfur present. In certain other embodiments, hydrodesulfurization unit 112 removes at least about 90% of the sulfur present.

[0053] Effluent 114 from hydrodesulfurization unit 112 can be supplied to liquid/gas separation unit 116 to remove the hydrogen and hydrogen sulfide gases. The liquid portion which includes a partially desulfurized HCN fraction is supplied from separation unit 116 via line 1 18 to adsorbent desulfurization unit 120 for the removal of the remainder of the sulfur from the HCN stream.

[0054] The hydrogen and hydrogen sulfide gases separated from the partially desulfurized

HCN fraction can be supplied from separation unit 116 via line 124 to scrubber 126 for removal of hydrogen sulfide. The hydrogen gas can then be supplied from scrubber 126 via line 128 to hydrodesulfurization unit 112, or can optionally be supplied to other plant operations.

[0055] The adsorbent desulfurization unit can include an adsorbent as described herein.

Preferable adsorbents can include copper and may optionally include zinc. In some embodiments, the HCN feed can be contacted with the adsorbent in the absence of hydrogen gas. In other embodiments, the HCN feed can be contacted with the adsorbent under atmospheric pressure in the absence of oxygen.

[0056] The process can employ multiple adsorption beds which can be fluidicly coupled to allow the treatment process to continue while spent adsorbent is regenerated. In certain embodiments, a plurality of adsorption beds can be fluidicly coupled to an organic solvent source, wherein the adsorption beds can include valves or other isolation means to allow for one or more adsorption beds to be placed "off line", allowing for regeneration of the adsorbent.

[0057] Partially desulfurized HCN stream 1 18 preferably contains less than about 200 ppm sulfur. Even more preferably, partially desulfurized stream 118 contains between about 50 and about 150 ppm sulfur. While the adsorbent is capable of removing sulfur from a feed that contains greater than about 200 ppm sulfur, this requires more frequent regeneration of the adsorbent bed, thus requiring the use and disposal of increased amounts of organic solvents.

[0058J The adsorbent can be contacted with hydrocarbon stream which contains sulfur at a temperature of between about 0 0 C and about 100 0 C. In certain embodiments, the

I l

hydrocarbon stream is contacted with the adsorbent at a temperature of between about 10 0 C and about 50 0 C.

[0059] While FIG. 2 shows the adsorption bed positioned downstream from the hydrodesulfurization reactor, it is understood that the adsorption bed can similarly be positioned upstream of the reactor. In addition, it is understood that in certain embodiments, an adsorption bed can be positioned both upstream and downstream from the hydrodesulfurization reactor. [0060] Example

[0061] A full range cat naphtha (FRCN) feedstock was distilled to produce an overcut heavy cat naphtha (HCN) fraction having a boiling point range between approximately 95 "C and 230°C. This can be referred to as overcutting because the HCN fraction has a final boiling point that is higher as compared to the conventional final boiling point of HCN. Thus, the overcut HCN contains significant amounts of sulfur from the full range CCG, and significantly higher amounts of sulfur than a conventional HCN fraction. Typically, sulfur species are most prevalent in the cut in the fraction having a boiling point range from about 160 0 C to 230 0 C. By overcutting in the distillation section, the majority of the sulfur species have been directed into the overcut heavy cat naphtha fraction. Properties of the initial FRCN feedstock and the separated HCN fraction are provided in Table I. As shown in Table 1, the HCN fraction has an increased concentration of aromatics, when compared to the initial FRCN feedstock. Finally, it is noted that the concentration of sulfur and nitrogen are greater in HCN than in the initial FRCN feedstock.

Table 1

[θθ62] The HCN fraction described in Table 1 above was hydrotreated with a conventional hydrodesulfiirization catalyst, which included cobalt and molybdenum on an alumina support, in the presence of hydrogen. A reactor was charged with 10 mL of a pre-sulfided CoMo/Al 2 O 3 catalyst. The CoMo/Al 2 O 3 catalyst was pre-sulfided at 32O 0 C for

approximately 12 hours with straight run naphtha spiked with dimethyldisulfide to produce a catalyst having 2.5 wt% sulfur. Operating conditions for the hydrotreating of two HCN samples are summarized in Table 2. In the Run 12, the hydrodesulfurization was conducted at approximately 300 0 C, whereas in Run 13 the hydrodesulfurization was conducted at approximately 340 0 C.

Table 2

[0θ63] The desulfurized HCN fractions from Runs 12 and 13 were collected and analyzed, as shown in Table 3. As shown in Table 3, performing the hydrodesulfurization step at higher temperatures (i.e., 339°C in Run 13 versus 300 0 C in Run 12), has a drastic effect on amount of sulfur removed from the HCN fraction. Total sulfur content of the of the treated HCN for Run 13 was reduced from approximately 4200 ppm in the HCN feed to approximately 162 ppm; a reduction of approximately 96% of the sulfur. In contrast, total sulfur content of the treated HCN for Run 12 was reduced from approximately 4200 ppm in the HCN feed to approximately 857 ppm; a reduction of approximately 80%. Similarly, greater amounts of nitrogen were removed at higher temperature as the Run 13 conditions resulted in the removal of approximately 84% of the nitrogen content, and the lower temperature conditions of Run 12 resulted in the removal of approximately 80% of the nitrogen content. Additionally, operating the hydrodesulfurization at a higher temperature resulted in a decrease in olefin content of approximately 18.5% and an increase in paraffin content of approximately 10.8%. The results in Table 3 demonstrate increased sulfur removal at more severe operating condition, and simiϊarly show the expected reduction in olefin content.

Table 3

[0064] The partially desulfurized HCN fractions from Runs 12 and 13 were then introduced into a stainless steel tube of approximately 50 mm length and 8 mm diameter, which were charged with 0.875 gram and 0.892 gram, respectively, of activated carbon having specific surface area of 1,673 m 2 /gram measured by BET method, at room temperature. Flow rate of liquid product was 0.2 mL/min. Table 4 and Table 5 summarizes the properties of the product streams from Runs 12 and 13, respectively.

[0065] As shown in Table 4, adsorptive desulfurization of the Run 12 product stream resulted in the removal of approximately 60% of the sulfur present in Run 12 product stream. Table 5

demonstrates the removal of approximately 40% of the sulfur present in the Run 13 product stream. Additionally, as noted in Tables 4 and 5, olefin content was not reduced as a result of the adsorptive desulfurization process.

Table 4

Table 5

*1: Relative contents to those of Liquid Products.

[0066] It is understood that while the Examples presented are directed to the desulfurization of HCN, the methods described can be applied to the treatment of any hydrocarbon based feedstock. However, it is recognized that the methods described herein can be most advantageously applied to hydrocarbon feedstocks that have high sulfur content and relatively high olefin content.

[0067] As used herein, the terms about and approximately should be interpreted to include any values which are within 5% of the recited value. In addition, when the terms about or approximately are used in conjunction with a range of values, the terms should be interpreted to apply to both the low end and high end values of that range.

[0068] While the invention has been shown or described in only some of its embodiments, it should be apparent to those skilled in the art that it is not so limited, but is susceptible to various changes without departing from the scope of the invention.