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Title:
PROCESS FOR PREPARING A HIGH PURITY FISCHER-TROPSCH GASOIL FRACTION
Document Type and Number:
WIPO Patent Application WO/2015/177067
Kind Code:
A1
Abstract:
The present invention provides a process for preparing a high purity Fischer-Tropsch gasoil fraction, comprising : a) providing a Fischer-Tropsch-derived gasoil feedstock comprising one or more contaminants; b) providing the Fischer-Tropsch-derived gasoil feedstock to a fractionation zone and fractionating the Fischer-Tropsch-derived gasoil feedstock into two or more Fischer-Tropsch gasoil fractions having a different boiling point range, wherein at least one Fischer-Tropsch gasoil fraction is a contaminant-enriched Fischer-Tropsch gasoil fraction, which is enriched in one or more contaminants with respect to the feedstock; c) providing the contaminant-enriched Fischer-Tropsch gasoil fraction to an absorption zone comprising at least one absorbent material and contacting the contaminant- enriched Fischer-Tropsch gasoil fraction with the absorbent material to absorb at least part of contaminant; and d) retrieving from the absorption zone a purified Fischer-Tropsch gasoil fraction, which is contaminant- depleted. The invention further provides for further processes for preparing a high purity Fischer- Tropsch gasoil fraction and the use of the purified Fischer-Tropsch gasoil fraction.

Inventors:
MORSINK JOHANNES BERNARDUS WILHELMUS (NL)
RIEMERSMA ROBERT (NL)
TURFBOER JOHANNES (NL)
WIERSMA RENDERT JAN (NL)
Application Number:
PCT/EP2015/060842
Publication Date:
November 26, 2015
Filing Date:
May 18, 2015
Export Citation:
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Assignee:
SHELL INT RESEARCH (NL)
SHELL OIL CO (US)
International Classes:
C10G7/00; C10G25/03; C10G53/08
Domestic Patent References:
WO2007027955A22007-03-08
WO2004080926A22004-09-23
WO2002070628A22002-09-12
WO1999034917A11999-07-15
Foreign References:
US20120048775A12012-03-01
US20110245555A12011-10-06
GB2401876A2004-11-24
US20120048775A12012-03-01
US20040152793A12004-08-05
US5906727A1999-05-25
Other References:
ABDUL HALIM A.K. MOHAMMED ET AL: "Adsorption of BTX Aromatic from Reformate by 13X Molecular Sieve", IRAQI JOURNAL OF CHEMICAL AND PETROLEUM ENGINEERING, 1 December 2007 (2007-12-01), pages 13 - 20, XP055134064, Retrieved from the Internet [retrieved on 20140808]
MICHAEL ASH; IRENE ASH: "The Index of Solvents", 1996, GOWER PUBLISHING LTD
GEORGE WYPYCH: "Handbook of Solvents", 2001, WILLEM ANDREW PUBLISHING
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
MATTHEZING, Robert Maarten et al. (2501 CJ The Hague, NL)
Download PDF:
Claims:
C L A I M S

1. A process for preparing a purified Fischer-Tropsch gasoil fraction, comprising:

a) providing a Fischer-Tropsch-derived gasoil

feedstock comprising one or more contaminants,

wherein said Fischer-Tropsch-derived gasoil is a fluid comprising paraffins, including isoparaffins and normal paraffins, with alkyl chain lengths in the range of from 7 to 30 carbon atoms, comprising at least 70 wt% of

Fischer-Tropsch-derived paraffins having 9 to 25 carbon atoms based on the total amount of Fischer-Tropsch- derived paraffins;

b) providing the Fischer-Tropsch-derived gasoil feedstock to a fractionation zone and fractionating the

Fischer-Tropsch-derived gasoil feedstock into two or more Fischer-Tropsch gasoil fractions having a different boiling point range, wherein at least one Fischer-Tropsch gasoil fraction is a contaminant-enriched Fischer-Tropsch gasoil fraction, which is enriched in one or more contaminants with respect to the feedstock;

c) providing the contaminant-enriched Fischer-Tropsch gasoil fraction to an absorption zone comprising at least one absorbent material and contacting the contaminant- enriched Fischer-Tropsch gasoil fraction with the absorbent material to absorb at least part of

contaminant; and

d) retrieving from the absorption zone a purified Fischer-Tropsch gasoil fraction, which purified Fischer- Tropsch gasoil fraction is contaminant-depleted with respect to the contaminant-enriched Fischer-Tropsch gasoil fraction.

2. A process according to claim 1, wherein the one or more contaminants are selected from the group consisting of oxygenate compounds and aromatics.

3. A process according to claim 1 or 2, wherein at least one absorbent material is a molecular sieve material, preferably zeolite X, zeolite 13X, zeolite Y, dealuminized zeolite Y, ultrastable Y, ZSM-12, mordenite, zeolite beta, zeolite L, zeolite omega, preferably zeolite 13X.

4. A process according to any one or more of the preceding claims, wherein the absorption zone comprises two or more absorbent materials, preferably at least zeolite 13X and magnesium silicate.

5. A process according to any one or more of the preceding claims, wherein the contaminant-enriched

Fischer-Tropsch gasoil fraction is contacted with the absorbent material at a temperature in the range of from 0 to 150°C.

6. A process according to any one or more of the preceding claims, wherein the contaminant-enriched

Fischer-Tropsch gasoil fraction is contacted with the absorbent material in a fixed bed reactor comprising at least one fixed bed of absorbent material. 7. A process according to any one or more of the preceding claims, wherein the contaminant-enriched

Fischer-Tropsch gasoil fraction has a final boiling point of no more than 260°C.

8. A process according to any one or more of claims 1- 6, wherein the contaminant-enriched Fischer-Tropsch gasoil fraction has an initial boiling point of more than 260°C.

9. A process according to any one or more of the preceding claims, wherein the contaminant-enriched

Fischer-Tropsch gasoil fraction has a Saybolt number below 30.

10. A process according to any one or more of the preceding claims, wherein the Fischer-Tropsch-derived gasoil has a final boiling point of no more than 450°C.

11. Use of a purified Fischer-Tropsch gasoil fraction obtained in the process of any one of more of claims 1 to 10 as a solvent, diluent or functional fluid. 12. A process for preparing a purified Fischer-Tropsch gasoil fraction, comprising:

i) providing a contaminant-comprising Fischer-Tropsch gasoil fraction, having a final boiling point of no more than 260°C and wherein said Fischer-Tropsch gasoil fraction comprises more than 50 wt% of isoparaffins , to an absorption zone comprising at least one absorbent material and contacting the contaminant-comprising

Fischer-Tropsch gasoil fraction with the absorbent material to absorb at least part of contaminant; and ii) retrieving from the absorption zone a purified

Fischer-Tropsch gasoil fraction, which purified Fischer- Tropsch gasoil fraction is contaminant-depleted with respect to the contaminant-comprising Fischer-Tropsch gasoil fraction.

13. Use of a purified Fischer-Tropsch gasoil fraction obtained in the process of claim 12 as a solvent, diluent or functional fluid.

14. A process for preparing a purified Fischer-Tropsch gasoil fraction, comprising:

v) providing a contaminant-comprising Fischer-Tropsch gasoil fraction, having an initial boiling point of more than 260°C, to an absorption zone comprising at least one absorbent material and contacting the contaminant- comprising Fischer-Tropsch gasoil fraction with the absorbent material to absorb at least part of

contaminant; and

vv) retrieving from the absorption zone a purified Fischer-Tropsch gasoil fraction, which purified Fischer- Tropsch gasoil fraction is contaminant-depleted with respect to the contaminant-comprising Fischer-Tropsch gasoil fraction.

15. Use of a purified Fischer-Tropsch gasoil fraction obtained in the process of claim 14 as a solvent, diluent or functional fluid.

Description:
PROCESS FOR PREPARING A HIGH PURITY FISCHER-TROPSCH

GASOIL FRACTION

Field of the Invention

The present invention relates to a process for preparing a high purity Fischer-Tropsch gasoil fraction and use thereof as a solvent or functional fluid.

Background to the invention

In the last two decades there has been an increasing interest in synthetic paraffinic hydrocarbon products . Such synthetic paraffinic products are for instance produced by so-called Fischer-Tropsch processes, wherein synthesis gas, i.e. a mixture of predominantly hydrogen and carbon monoxide, is converted into higher hydrocarbon compounds including paraffins .

Synthetic paraffinic products of particular interest are Fischer-Tropsch-derived gasoils. Due to their synthetic origin, these Fischer-Tropsch-derived gasoils have very low levels of aromatics, naphthenics and impurities compared to their crude oil derived

counterparts. In addition, the Fischer-Tropsch-derived gasoils have properties that provide advantages in solvent and functional fluid applications with low viscosity requirements .

US 2012/0048775 describes a process for producing middle distillates from a paraffinic feed produced by Fischer-Tropsch synthesis, wherein an intermediate fraction with an initial boiling point in the range 150

°C to 400 °C and an end point in the range 300 °C to 450 °C is passed over an ion exchange resin, and optionally decontaminated by passage over a guard bed. US

2004/152793 describes a process for preparing an olefinic naphtha, wherein an olefinic naphtha stream is isolated from a Fischer-Tropsch hydrocarbon stream and purified over a metal oxide at elevated temperatures . It is disclosed in US 2004/152793 that the paraffins of the non-olefinic component of the naphtha are predominantly n-paraffins. In US5906727, a Fischer-Tropsch-derived solvent is disclosed with a boiling range from

approximately 160 to 370°C. According to US5906727, the solvent has a low odor and is colorless (Saybolt color number of +30) . There is a need in the art for Fischer- Tropsch-derived solvents that have more narrow boiling point range compared to the solvent disclosed in

US5906727.

Summary of the Invention

The present invention provides for a process for preparing a purified Fischer-Tropsch gasoil fraction. It has been found that, when a Fischer-Tropsch-derived gasoil having a relatively broad boiling point range, e.g. within a range of from approximately 150 to 450°C, is fractionated into two or more fractions that have a more narrow boiling point range, at least one of the fractions exhibits an increased odor and/or

discoloration. These disadvantageous side-effects encountered when fractionating virtually odorless and colorless Fischer-Tropsch-derived gasoil were till now unknown. It has now been found that this problem can be resolved by the process according to the present invention .

Accordingly, the present invention provides a first process for preparing a purified Fischer-Tropsch gasoil fraction, comprising: a) providing a Fischer-Tropsch-derived gasoil

feedstock comprising one or more contaminants, wherein said Fischer-Tropsch-derived gasoil is a fluid

comprising paraffins, including isoparaffins and normal paraffins, with alkyl chain lengths in the range of from

7 to 30 carbon atoms, comprising at least 70 wt% of Fischer-Tropsch-derived paraffins having 9 to 25 carbon atoms based on the total amount of Fischer-Tropsch- derived paraffins;

b) providing the feedstock to a fractionation zone and fractionating the feedstock into two or more Fischer- Tropsch gasoil fractions having a different boiling point range, wherein at least one Fischer-Tropsch gasoil fraction is a contaminant-enriched Fischer-Tropsch gasoil fraction, which is enriched in one or more of the contaminants with respect to the feedstock;

c) providing the contaminant-enriched Fischer-Tropsch gasoil fraction to an absorption zone comprising at least one absorbent material and contacting the

contaminant-enriched Fischer-Tropsch gasoil fraction with the absorbent material to absorb at least part of the one or more contaminants; and

d) retrieving from the absorption zone a purified Fischer-Tropsch gasoil fraction as high purity Fischer- Tropsch gasoil fraction, which purified Fischer-Tropsch gasoil fraction is contaminant-depleted with respect to the contaminant-enriched Fischer-Tropsch gasoil

fraction .

The process according to the invention allows for the preparation purified Fischer-Tropsch gasoil

fractions, having applicability as solvents, diluents and functional fluids, which have a boiling point range that is narrower than the Fischer-Tropsch-derived gasoil feedstock it was prepared from.

The process according to the invention further allows for the preparation of purified Fischer-Tropsch gasoil fractions, having applicability as solvents, diluents and functional fluids, which have desired odor properties and/or color specifications.

The process according to the invention further allows for the removal of contaminants using a

relatively straightforward, cheap and safe absorption method, compared to for instance treatments with strong acids like concentrated sulfuric acid or elaborate and expensive hydrotreating treatments.

In a further aspect the invention provides a second process for preparing a purified Fischer-Tropsch gasoil fraction, comprising:

i) providing a contaminant-comprising Fischer-Tropsch gasoil fraction, having a final boiling point of no more than 260°C and wherein said Fischer-Tropsch gasoil fraction comprises more than 50 wt% of isoparaffins , to an absorption zone comprising an absorbent material and contacting the contaminant-comprising Fischer-Tropsch gasoil fraction with the absorbent material to absorb at least part of contaminant; and

ii) retrieving from the absorption zone a purified

Fischer-Tropsch gasoil fraction as high purity Fischer- Tropsch gasoil fraction, which purified Fischer-Tropsch gasoil fraction is contaminant-depleted with respect to the contaminant-comprising Fischer-Tropsch gasoil fraction.

In yet a further aspect the invention provides a third process for preparing a high purity Fischer- Tropsch gasoil fraction, comprising: v) providing a contaminant-comprising Fischer-Tropsch gasoil fraction, having an initial boiling point of more than 260°C, to an absorption zone comprising an

absorbent material and contacting the contaminant- comprising Fischer-Tropsch gasoil fraction with the absorbent material to absorb at least part of

contaminant; and

vv) retrieving from the absorption zone a purified Fischer-Tropsch gasoil fraction as high purity Fischer- Tropsch gasoil fraction, which purified Fischer-Tropsch gasoil fraction is contaminant-depleted with respect to the contaminant-comprising Fischer-Tropsch gasoil fraction .

In another aspect, the invention provides for the use of a purified Fischer-Tropsch gasoil fraction produced by a process according to the present invention as a solvent, diluent or functional fluid.

Detailed Description of the Invention

The present invention provides for a first process for preparing purified Fischer-Tropsch gasoil fractions. These Fischer-Tropsch gasoil fractions are particularly suitable for use as solvents, diluents and functional fluids, in particular for the applications as mentioned herein.

In the process according to the invention, the fractions are prepared by providing and fractionating a Fischer-Tropsch-derived gasoil. Fischer-Tropsch-derived gasoil according to the present invention is a synthetic gasoil derived from a Fischer-Tropsch process. Fischer-

Tropsch-derived gasoil is known in the art. By the term "Fischer-Tropsch-derived" is meant that the gasoil, is, or is derived from, a synthesis product of a Fischer- Tropsch process. In a Fischer-Tropsch process, synthesis gas is converted to a synthesis product. Synthesis gas or syngas is a mixture of predominantly hydrogen and carbon monoxide that is obtained by conversion of a hydrocarbonaceous feedstock. Suitable feedstocks include natural gas, crude oil, heavy oil fractions, coal, biomass or lignocellulosic biomass and lignite and lignite. A Fischer-Tropsch-derived gasoil may also be referred to as a GTL (Gas-to-Liquids ) gasoil. The

Fischer-Tropsch-derived gasoil is characterized as the product of a Fischer-Tropsch process wherein a synthesis gas, or mixture of predominantly hydrogen and carbon monoxide, is processed at elevated temperature over a supported catalyst comprised of a Group VIII metal, or metals, e.g., cobalt, ruthenium, iron, etc. At least part of the Fischer-Tropsch product is contacted with hydrogen, at hydrocracking/ hydroisomerization

conditions over a, preferably, bifunctional, catalyst, or catalyst containing a metal, or metals, hydrogenation component and an acidic oxide support component active in producing both hydrocracking and hydroisomerization reactions. A least part of the resulting

hydrocracked/hydroisomerized Fischer-Tropsch product may be provided as the Fischer-Tropsch-derived gasoil.

Fischer-Tropsch-derived gasoils are different from crude oil-derived gasoils. Despite having a similar boiling point range, the specific molecular composition of the Fischer-Tropsch-derived gasoils may allow for, amongst others, improved viscosity characteristics, improved pour point characteristics, improved density characteristics and in particular a combination of any of the aforementioned characteristics with specific desired flash point characteristics. For example, Fischer-Tropsch-derived gasoils may combine a low volatility with a high flash point, whereas the

viscosity of such Fischer-Tropsch-derived gasoils may be lower than the viscosity of crude oil-derived gasoil having a similar volatility and flashpoint.

Notwithstanding the above, the Fischer-Tropsch-derived gasoils is a complex mixture of molecules that should not be compared to a pure paraffinic molecule like e.g. pure n-dodecane .

The different characteristics of the Fischer-

Tropsch-derived gasoils, compared to the crude oil- derived gasoils, are generally attributed to their particular isoparaffin to normal paraffin weight ratio (i/n ratio), relative amount of mono-methyl branched isoparaffins and the molecular weight distribution of the paraffins, as well as the absence of substantial levels aromatics and naphthenes.

A particular advantage of the Fischer-Tropsch- derived gasoils is that these gasoils exhibit very little odor and are almost colorless. Color as used herein is the Saybolt color as measured by its Saybolt number (ASTM D156: Standard Test Method for Saybolt Color of Petroleum Products) . A high Saybolt number, +30, indicates colorless fluids, whereas lower Saybolt numbers, in particular below zero, indicate a

discoloration. A Saybolt number lower than 25 already indicates the presence of a visually observable

discoloration. Fischer-Tropsch-derived gasoils typically have the highest Saybolt number, i.e. +30. The high purity, low odor and minimal color characteristics, together with the above mentioned improved viscosity, pour point, density and flash point characteristics make the Fischer-Tropsch-derived gasoils highly suitable for solvent, diluent and functional fluid applications.

These low odor and minimal color characteristics are in part caused by the fact that, although

contaminants are present in the Fischer-Tropsch-derived gasoil feedstock, the concentration of these

contaminants in the Fischer-Tropsch-derived gasoil is relatively low. This is due to the nature of the

Fischer-Tropsch process for making the Fischer-Tropsch- derived gasoil, wherein the feedstock to the Fischer-

Tropsch process comprises little to no sulphur and the process produces very little unsaturates, e.g.

aromatics, oxygenates and nitrous compounds. It has now been found that it may be possible to meet specific requirements of particular applications of the Fischer-

Tropsch-derived gasoil by fractionating the Fischer- Tropsch-derived gasoil into two or more fractions having a different boiling point range. By fractionating the Fischer-Tropsch-derived gasoil, isoparaffins and normal paraffins are distributed unevenly over the two or more fractions and Fischer-Tropsch gasoil fractions may be obtained that have an i/n ratio different from the Fischer-Tropsch-derived gasoil feedstock. Also the relative amount of mono-methyl branched isoparaffins and the molecular weight distribution of the paraffins may be different. As a consequence the viscosity, pour point, density and flash point characteristics of the Fischer-Tropsch-derived gasoil fractions may change, beyond the change that would be expected on the basis of a fractionation based on boiling ranges alone.

In the process according to the present invention, a Fischer-Tropsch-derived gasoil feedstock is

provided to a fractionation zone. Reference herein to a fractionation zone is to one or more separation means for separating the Fischer-Tropsch-derived gasoil feedstock into two or more fractions having a different boiling point range. Examples of suitable separating means include, but are not limited to, distillation units. Preferably, the Fischer-Tropsch-derived gasoil feedstock is fractionated by distillation. The Fischer- Tropsch-derived gasoil feedstock may be fractionated in a single distillation column or in two or more

distillation columns. It is preferred that the Fischer- Tropsch-derived gasoil feedstock is fractionated in one or more distillation columns.

In the fractionation zone, the Fischer-Tropsch- derived gasoil feedstock is fractionated into two or more Fischer-Tropsch-derived gasoil fractions, herein further referred to as Fischer-Tropsch gasoil fractions, each having a different boiling point range. Preferably, the Fischer-Tropsch-derived gasoil feedstock is

fractionated into three or more, more preferably four or more, Fischer-Tropsch gasoil fractions each having a different boiling point range. Preferably at least one, more preferably at least two, of the Fischer-Tropsch gasoil fractions has a final boiling point of at most 260°C, preferably at most 250°C, more preferably at most 215°C. Reference herein to the final boiling point is to the higher limit of the boiling point range of a

Fischer-Tropsch gasoil fraction, this boiling point range is defined as the range between the initial boiling point and final boiling point measured under atmospheric conditions as determined according to ASTM D86.

Equally preferable, at least one, more preferably at least two, of the Fischer-Tropsch gasoil fractions has an initial boiling point of more than 260°C, preferably at least 300°C, more preferably at least 310°C. Reference herein to the an initial boiling point is to the lower limit of the boiling point range of a Fischer-Tropsch gasoil fraction, this boiling point range is defined as the range between the initial boiling point and final boiling point measured under atmospheric conditions as determined according to ASTM D86.

When fractionating the Fischer-Tropsch-derived gasoil, the, albeit low levels of, contaminants that are present in the Fischer-Tropsch-derived gasoil feedstock are not uniformly distributed over the two or more fractions. It has been observed that in particular the lower molecular weight and/or more volatile contaminants may accumulate in the lower boiling fractions rather than residing in the higher boiling fractions. These contaminants are believed to cause an undesired odor, and optionally a discoloration of the fraction, which was not observed in the Fischer-Tropsch-derived gasoil feedstock .

It has been observed that in particular the higher molecular weight and/or less volatile contaminants may accumulate in the higher boiling fractions rather than residing in the lower boiling fractions. These

contaminants are believed to predominantly cause an undesired discoloration of the fraction.

Contaminants herein are non-paraffinic, non

naphthenic compounds. The term contaminant herein refers to compounds selected from the group consisting of oxygenate compounds, unsaturated hydrocarbon compounds, sulphur containing compounds and nitrogen containing compounds . The term unsaturated hydrocarbon compounds herein refers to compounds having one or more unsaturated bonds, including aromatics.

The term oxygenate compounds herein refers to oxygen-containing hydrocarbonaceous compounds . Examples of oxygenates include, but are not limited to alcohols, ketones, aldehydes, ethers, epoxides and acids.

The term aromatics herein refers to aromatic compounds and compounds that comprise one or more aromatic groups, including polycyclic aromatics.

More preferably, term contaminant herein refers to compounds selected from the group consisting of

oxygenate compounds and aromatics, as these compounds are believed to provide the most significant

contribution to the odor and discoloration of the contaminant-enriched Fischer-Tropsch gasoil fractions.

The term contaminant concentration herein refers to a contaminant concentration expressed in ppmw, unless expressly indicated differently, and calculated on the basis of the respective total Fischer-Tropsch-derived gasoil, contaminant-enriched Fischer-Tropsch gasoil fraction, or purified Fischer-Tropsch gasoil fraction and the total weight of the contaminants .

Therefore, in the process according to the

invention, at least one Fischer-Tropsch gasoil fraction prepared in step (b) is a contaminant-enriched Fischer- Tropsch gasoil fraction, due to the non-uniform

distribution of the contaminants in the Fischer-Tropsch- derived gasoil feedstock over the prepared Fischer- Tropsch gasoil fractions. Reference herein to a

contaminant-enriched Fischer-Tropsch gasoil fraction is to a Fischer-Tropsch gasoil fraction that contains a higher concentration of one or more contaminants compared to the Fischer-Tropsch-derived gasoil

feedstock. In particular, the contaminant-enriched Fischer-Tropsch gasoil fraction may comprise at least one contaminant selected from the group consisting of oxygenate compounds and aromatics.

An effect of the accumulation of contaminants in the contaminant-enriched Fischer-Tropsch gasoil fraction may be that the Saybolt number of the contaminant- enriched Fischer-Tropsch gasoil fraction is lower than the Saybolt number of the Fischer-Tropsch-derived gasoil feedstock, i.e. the coloring of the fraction has increased. This undesired discoloration is particularly observed in the higher boiling Fischer-Tropsch gasoil fractions. Without wishing to be bound to any particular theory, it is believed that in particular more complex and conjugated molecules influence the emission and adsorption of lights . Such complex and conjugated molecules are more likely be of a higher molecular weight. It has been observed that discoloration of the lower fractions may also happen, albeit to a lesser extent .

A further effect of the accumulation of

contaminants in the contaminant-enriched Fischer-Tropsch gasoil fraction may be an increase of the odor emitted by the Fischer-Tropsch gasoil fraction. This undesired odor is particularly observed in the lower boiling Fischer-Tropsch gasoil fractions. Without wishing to be bound to any particular theory, it is believed that in particular more volatile lower molecular weight

molecules cause the existence of an odor.

Fischer-Tropsch-derived gasoils and in particular Fischer-Tropsch-derived paraffins intrinsically have an odor. Therefore, when herein reference is made to terms like odorless, low odor or little odor, reference is made to an odor that is qualitatively equal to or qualitatively similar to that of the Fischer-Tropsch- derived gasoils or paraffins. Where herein reference is made to terms like an increased odor, a stronger odor, and an undesired odor or similar qualifications, reference is made to an odor that is qualitatively different from to that of the Fischer-Tropsch-derived gasoils or paraffins. This difference in odor can be characterized by comparing the odor of a, optionally contaminant-enriched, Fischer-Tropsch gasoil fraction to the Fischer-Tropsch-derived gasoil feedstock and classifying the difference, i.e. 1 is qualitatively equal to Fischer-Tropsch-derived gasoil feedstock (good odor characteristic) , while 5 is qualitatively very different to Fischer-Tropsch-derived gasoil feedstock (poor odor characteristic).

Preferably, the Fischer-Tropsch-derived gasoil feedstock is fractionated into at least two Fischer- Tropsch gasoil fractions, of which at least two Fischer-

Tropsch gasoil fractions at least one is a contaminant- enriched Fischer-Tropsch gasoil fraction having a final boiling point of at most 260°C, preferably at most 250°C, more preferably at most 215°C. Equally

preferably, the Fischer-Tropsch-derived gasoil feedstock is fractionated into least two Fischer-Tropsch gasoil fractions, of which at least two Fischer-Tropsch gasoil fractions at least one is a contaminant-enriched

Fischer-Tropsch gasoil fraction having an initial boiling point of more than 260°C, preferably at least

300°C, more preferably at least 310°C. Typically, the Saybolt number of the contaminant-enriched Fischer- Tropsch gasoil fraction having an initial boiling point of more than 260°C may be below 30, in particular at least 2, optionally at least 5, lower than the Saybolt number of the Fischer-Tropsch-derived gasoil feedstock.

Where more than one contaminant-enriched Fischer- Tropsch gasoil fraction is produced, the above described properties of the contaminant-enriched Fischer-Tropsch gasoil fraction may apply to at least one contaminant- enriched Fischer-Tropsch gasoil fraction, however, may apply to other contaminant-enriched Fischer-Tropsch gasoil fractions.

Both the above described discoloration and increase of odor are undesired properties and do not benefit the use of the Fischer-Tropsch gasoil fractions in solvent, diluent or functional fluid applications . To make the Fischer-Tropsch gasoil fractions suitable for a wider range of solvent, diluent or functional fluid

applications, the contaminant-enriched Fischer-Tropsch should be further treated to reduce the odor and/or discoloration .

Therefore, the process according to the invention further includes providing the contaminant-enriched Fischer-Tropsch gasoil fraction to an absorption zone. The absorption zone comprises at least one absorbent material, which is suitable to absorb at least part of the contaminants. Reference herein to an absorbent material is to absorbent material and adsorbent

material. Reference herein to absorb is to absorb and adsorb. Reference herein to absorption is to absorption and adsorption.

Preferably, the absorption zone comprises at least one absorbent material selected from the group

consisting of magnesium silicate and molecular sieve materials including 4A or 5A molecular sieve, zeolite X, zeolite 13X, zeolite Y, dealuminized zeolite Y,

ultrastable Y, ZSM-12, mordenite, zeolite beta, zeolite L, zeolite omega.

Without wishing to be bound by any particular theory, it is believed that in particular absorbent materials having larger pore sizes, i.e. above 0.5 nm (5 Angstrom) or larger, are able to absorb the relative large aromatic compounds in addition to the oxygenates and other contaminants. Absorbent materials having smaller pore sizes absorb predominately the non-aromatic compounds, including in particular oxygenates.

Therefore, it is particularly preferred that the absorption zone comprises at least one absorbent material comprising pores having a pore size of more than 0.5 nm (5 Angstrom), more preferably at least 0.55 nm (5.5 Angstrom), even more preferably at least 0.6 nm (6 Angstrom), still more preferably at least 0.65 nm (6.5 Angstrom) . Preferably, the absorption zone

comprises at least one absorbent material that is a molecular sieve material selected from the group consisting of, zeolite X, zeolite 13X, zeolite Y, dealuminized zeolite Y, ultrastable Y, ZSM-12,

mordenite, zeolite beta, zeolite L, zeolite omega, more preferably zeolite X, zeolite 13X, zeolite Y,

dealuminized zeolite Y, ultrastable Y, ZSM-12,

mordenite, zeolite beta, zeolite L, zeolite omega, even more preferably the absorbent material is zeolite 13X, which is the sodium form of Zeolite X. Where the absorption zone comprises at least one molecular sieve absorbent material is preferred that at least one molecular sieve absorbent material has a channel structure in one or more directions having a diameter of more than 0.5 nm (5 Angstrom), more preferably at least 0.55 nm (5.5 Angstrom), even more preferably at least 0.6 nm (6 Angstrom), still more preferably at least 0.65 nm (6.5 Angstrom) .

The absorption zone may comprise two or more of absorbent materials, preferably two or more selected from the absorbent materials described hereinabove. A preferred combination of absorbent material may include zeolite 13X and magnesium silicate. Another preferred combination of absorbent material may include zeolite 13X and active coal. The combination of absorbent may be able to more efficiently absorb a broader range of contaminants, for instance both larger and smaller molecular size contaminants, e.g. oxygenates and aromatics, or polar and non-polar contaminants.

The molecular sieve used as the absorbent material in the process of the invention is preferably based on an acidic molecular sieve having a framework silica-to- alumina molar ratio less than 100 and more preferably greater than 10, for example 20 to 50. Lower silica materials have more sites for available adsorption sites and therefore may be more effective than the higher silica molecular sieve materials.

The absorbent material used in the absorption zone of the process of the invention may be provided in the form of particles, for example extrudate, spheres or pellets. The particles may comprise the absorbent material alone or together with a binder material or filler material to improve the strength of the

particles. The binder or filler material may be for instance amorphous metal oxides, including alumina, silica, zirconia, and titania. Preferably the binder or filler material is alumina. Preferably, the contaminant-enriched Fischer- Tropsch gasoil fraction is contacted with the absorbent material in the absorption zone at a temperature in the range of from 0 to 150°C. The lower limit of the temperature range at which the contaminant-enriched

Fischer-Tropsch gasoil fraction is contacted with the absorbent material in the absorption zone is related to the fact that the absorption is diffusion limited and temperatures below 0°C would cause a undesirable decrease of the diffusion rate of the contaminants from the contaminant-enriched Fischer-Tropsch gasoil fraction to the absorbent material. When the contact temperature is increased, i.e. above 0°C, the rate of diffusion may increase. By maintaining the temperature below 150°C, the formation of by-products is reduced. This is important as these by-products may have an undesirable effect on the applicability of the resulting Fischer- Tropsch gasoil fraction.

More preferably, the contaminant-enriched Fischer- Tropsch gasoil fraction is contacted with the absorbent material in the absorption zone at a temperature in the range of from 10 to 40°C, most preferably in the range of from 10 to 30° C.

Preferably, the contaminant-enriched Fischer- Tropsch gasoil fraction is contacted with the absorbent material in the absorption zone at a pressure in the range of from 1 to 75 bar, preferably of from 1.1 to 50 bar .

The contaminant-enriched Fischer-Tropsch gasoil fraction may contacted with the absorbent material batch-wise or in a continuous mode. It is preferred that the contaminant-enriched Fischer-Tropsch gasoil fraction is contacted with the absorbent material under turbulent flow conditions to stimulate the fluid/solid material interaction. In the continuous mode case, the absorption zone may preferably comprise a fixed bed reactor comprising at least one fixed bed of absorbent material. Preferably, the contaminant-enriched Fischer-Tropsch gasoil fraction is contacted with the absorbent material under continuous or induced mixing, this is particularly preferred in case of a batch-wise operation.

Preferably, the contaminant-enriched Fischer- Tropsch gasoil fraction is contacted with the absorbent material in the absorption zone at for a time sufficient to absorb at least part of the contaminants. In case of a batch-wise contacting of the contaminant-enriched Fischer-Tropsch gasoil fraction with the absorbent material, the contaminant-enriched Fischer-Tropsch gasoil fraction may be contacted with the absorbent material for any time in the range of from 1 minute to 48 hours, preferably for of from 30 minutes to 24 hours, more preferably of from 60 minutes to 24 hours.

Preferably, in a batch contacting, the contaminant- enriched Fischer-Tropsch gasoil fraction may be

contacted with the absorbent material in a volume ratio of contaminant-enriched Fischer-Tropsch gasoil fraction over absorbent material of in the range of from 0.5 to 200, more preferably of from 1 to 175, even more preferably 5 to 125.

In case of a continuous contacting of the

contaminant-enriched Fischer-Tropsch gasoil fraction with the absorbent material, the contaminant-enriched Fischer- Tropsch gasoil fraction may be contacted with the absorbent material for any time in the range of from 1 minute to 48 hours, preferably for of from 30 minutes to 24 hours, more preferably of from 60 minutes to 24 hours. Preferably, the contaminant-enriched Fischer-Tropsch gasoil fraction is contacted with the absorbent material in the absorption zone at a LHSV of from 0.0001 to 0.01 s -1 ' more preferably 0.0001 to 0.005 s -1 , still more preferably 0.0001 to 0.003 s _1 .

The absorption zone may comprise one or more absorption sections. In one embodiment, the absorption zone may comprise two or more absorption sections in- series. Optionally, the absorption zone may comprise two or more sections, each comprising a separate absorbent. This has the advantage that different contaminants may be separately removed, to the extent required. One example may be a first section comprising Mg silicate or similar absorbent material and a second section comprising zeolite 13X or similar large pore molecular sieve absorbent material. This combination has the advantage that the Mg silicate or similar absorbent material can absorb part of the oxygenates, allowing a larger part of the absorption capacity of the zeolite 13X or similar large pore molecular sieve absorbent material to be used for the aromatic contaminants. Alternatively, the absorption zone may comprise a mixture of two or more absorbent materials.

In a further embodiment, the absorption zone may comprise two or more absorption sections in parallel, preferably comprising the same absorbent material. An advantage of providing parallel absorption zones is that this allows for a continuous operation of the absorption process, wherein alternating absorption beds are

regenerated (as described in more detail herein below), while the remaining section are in a normal operation mode . Other embodiments may include both parallel as well as in-series aligned absorption zones.

In the process according to the invention, a purified Fischer-Tropsch gasoil fraction is retrieved from the absorption zone as the high purity Fischer-

Tropsch gasoil fraction. The purified Fischer-Tropsch gasoil fraction retrieved from the absorption zone is contaminant-depleted, i.e. the purified Fischer-Tropsch gasoil fraction comprises a contaminant concentration that is lower than the contaminant concentration of the contaminant-enriched Fischer-Tropsch gasoil fraction. Preferably, at least one of the aromatic and oxygenate concentrations of the purified Fischer-Tropsch gasoil fraction is lower the corresponding concentrations of the contaminant-enriched Fischer-Tropsch gasoil fraction.

More preferably, the aromatic and oxygenate

concentrations of the purified Fischer-Tropsch gasoil fraction are lower the corresponding concentrations of the contaminant-enriched Fischer-Tropsch gasoil fraction. Preferably, the purified Fischer-Tropsch gasoil fraction according to the present invention comprises:

- in the range of from 0 to 500 ppmw, more preferably of from 0 to 200 ppmw, still more preferably of from 0 to 100 ppmw, even still more preferably of from 0 to 50 ppmw, most preferably of from 0 to 25 ppmw of aromatics, based on the weight of the purified Fischer-Tropsch gasoil fraction;

- in the range of from 0 to 3 ppmw, more preferably of from 1 ppmw, of oxygenates, calculated based on the weight of the elemental oxygen in the oxygenates and the purified Fischer-Tropsch gasoil fraction;

- in the range of from 0 to 3 ppmw, more preferably of from 1 ppmw, still more preferably of from 0.2 ppmw, of sulphur-containing hydrocarbonaceous compounds,

calculated based on the weight of the elemental sulphur in the sulphur-containing hydrocarbonaceous compounds and the weight of the purified Fischer-Tropsch gasoil fraction; and/or

- in the range of from 0 to 1 ppmw of nitrogen-containing hydrocarbonaceous compounds, calculated based on the weight of the elemental nitrogen in the nitrogen- containing hydrocarbonaceous compounds and the purified Fischer-Tropsch gasoil fraction.

More preferably, the purified Fischer-Tropsch gasoil fraction according to the present invention comprises :

- in the range of from 0 to 500 ppmw, more preferably of from 0 to 200 ppmw, still more preferably of from 0 to 100 ppmw, even still more preferably of from 0 to 50 ppmw, most preferably of from 0 to 25 ppmw of aromatics, based on the weight of the purified Fischer-Tropsch gasoil fraction;

- in the range of from 0 to 3 ppmw, more preferably of from 1 ppmw, of oxygenates, calculated based on the weight of the elemental oxygen in the oxygenates and the purified Fischer-Tropsch gasoil fraction;

- in the range of from 0 to 3 ppmw, more preferably of from 1 ppmw, still more preferably of from 0.2 ppmw, of sulphur-containing hydrocarbonaceous compounds,

calculated based on the weight of the elemental sulphur in the sulphur-containing hydrocarbonaceous compounds and the purified Fischer-Tropsch gasoil fraction; and

- in the range of from 0 to 1 ppmw of nitrogen-containing hydrocarbonaceous compounds, calculated based on the weight of the elemental nitrogen in the nitrogen- containing hydrocarbonaceous compounds and the purified Fischer-Tropsch gasoil fraction. Herein above reference is made to elemental oxygen, elemental sulphur and elemental nitrogen to indicate that the concentration of oxygenates, sulphur-containing hydrocarbonaceous

compounds and nitrogen-containing hydrocarbonaceous compounds is determined on the basis of the weight of the oxygen, sulphur and nitrogen atoms present in the gasoil and not on the weight to the complete molecule comprising those oxygen, sulphur and nitrogen atoms.

In case there is more than one contaminant-enriched Fischer-Tropsch gasoil fraction, each contaminant- enriched Fischer-Tropsch gasoil fraction is preferably provided to separate absorption zones with separate absorption material (s) to prepare more than one purified Fischer-Tropsch gasoil fractions. This is particularly relevant when the fractionation and absorption process steps are operated in a continuous mode. Each of such individual more than one purified Fischer-Tropsch gasoil fractions may preferably have its own specific

contaminant concentration within the above mentioned ranges .

In addition to the purified Fischer-Tropsch gasoil fraction, contaminant-comprising absorbent material may be retrieved from the absorption zone. The contaminant- comprising absorbent material may be recycled to the absorption zone or, in particular when the sorption capacity of the absorbent material is reached, the contaminant-comprising absorbent material may be

regenerated. The absorbent material may be regenerated in any suitable manner that will desorb or otherwise remove the contaminants from the absorbent material. For instance, the absorbent material may be regenerated either by stripping with a desorbent, such as steam or nitrogen, or by heating the absorbent material in the presence of for example oxygen, oxygen enriched air, air or a hydrogen-containing gas to burn off, or otherwise decompose the absorbed contaminants. After the absorbent material has been regenerated it may be recycled to the absorption zone.

In addition to contaminant-enriched Fischer-Tropsch gasoil fractions, also Fischer-Tropsch gasoline fractions that are not contaminant-enriched may be prepared in step (b) . Such Fischer-Tropsch gasoline fractions that are not contaminant-enriched are Fischer-Tropsch gasoline fractions can be directly retrieved from the process, i.e. without subjecting these fractions to the absorption step (c) as further Fischer-Tropsch gasoline fractions.

The high purity Fischer-Tropsch gasoline fraction retrieved from the absorption zone as the purified

Fischer-Tropsch gasoline fraction (step (d) ) may be used, optionally after even further treatment, for a desired application .

In a further aspect, the present invention provides the use of the purified Fischer-Tropsch gasoil fraction as a solvent, in a functional fluid formulation or a diluent. A functional fluid formulation herein may be a formulation comprising the purified Fischer-Tropsch gasoil fraction, preferably comprising further containing an additive compound. Typically, the solvents, functional fluid formulations and diluents may be used in many areas, for instance oil and gas exploration and

production, process oils, agro chemicals, process chemicals, construction industry, food and related industries, paper, textile and leather, and various household and consumer products. Further, the type of additives used in the functional fluid formulation according to the present invention is dependent on the type of fluid formulation. Additives for functional fluid formulations include, but are not limited to, corrosion and rheology control products, emulsifiers and wetting agents, borehole stabilizers, high pressure and anti-wear additives, de- and anti-foaming agents, pour point depressants, and antioxidants.

Preferred solvent, diluent and/or functional fluid applications using the purified Fischer-Tropsch gasoil fraction obtained in the process according to the present invention as diluent oil or base oil include, but is not limited to, drilling fluids, heating fuels, lamp oil, barbeque lighters, concrete demoulding, pesticide spray oils, paints and coatings, personal care and cosmetics, consumer goods, pharmaceuticals, industrial and institutional cleaning, adhesives, inks, air fresheners, sealants, explosives, water treatment, cleaners, polishes, car dewaxers, electric discharge machining, transformer oils, process oil, process chemicals, silicone mastic, two stroke motor cycle oil, metal cleaning, dry cleaning, lubricants, metal work fluid, aluminum roll oil, explosives, chlorinated paraffins, heat setting printing inks, Timber treatment, polymer processing oils, rust prevention oils, shock absorbers, greenhouse fuels, fracturing fluids and fuel additives formulations.

Typical solvent, diluent and functional fluid applications are for example described in "The Index of Solvents", Michael Ash, Irene Ash, Gower publishing Ltd, 1996, ISBN 0-566-07884-8 and in "Handbook of Solvents", George Wypych, Willem Andrew publishing, 2001, ISBN 0-

8155-1458-1.

An advantage of the use of the purified Fischer- Tropsch gasoil fraction as solvents, diluents or in functional fluid formulations is that the purified

Fischer-Tropsch gasoil fraction has a low viscosity, low pour point while having a high flash point. This

combination of physical characteristics of the purified Fischer-Tropsch gasoil fraction is highly desirable for its use in functional fluid formulations with low viscosity requirements.

For example, in drilling fluid applications, during use, the temperature of the drilling fluid may decrease which may lead to an increase of the viscosity of the drilling fluid. The high viscosity may be harmful for the beneficial use of the drilling fluid. Therefore, a purified Fischer-Tropsch gasoil fraction obtained from the process according to the present invention with a low viscosity and high flash point is highly desirable for its use in drilling fluid applications .

The use of the purified Fischer-Tropsch gasoil fraction as a diluent may include the use as a diluent oil or base oil for solvent and/or functional fluid applications.

With the term diluent oil is meant an oil used to decrease viscosity and/or improve other properties of solvent and functional fluid formulations.

With the term base oil is meant an oil to which other oils, solvents or substances are added to produce a solvent or functional fluid formulation.

The advantages of the use of the purified Fischer- Tropsch gasoil fraction as a diluent oil or base oil for solvent and/or functional fluid formulations are the same as described above for functional fluid formulations comprising the purified Fischer-Tropsch gasoil fraction, further containing an additive compound. In a further aspect, the present invention provides the use of a purified Fischer-Tropsch gasoil fraction obtained by the process according to the invention for improving biodegradability and lower toxicity in solvent and/or functional fluid applications.

As described above, the purified Fischer-Tropsch gasoil fraction has preferably very low levels of aromatics, sulphur, nitrogen compounds and is preferably free from polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons. These low levels may lead to, but are not limited to, low aquatic toxicity, low sediment organism toxicity, low human and animal toxicity and low terrestrial ecotoxicity of the purified Fischer-Tropsch gasoil fraction. The molecular structure of the purified Fischer-Tropsch gasoil fraction may lead to the readily biodegradability of the Fischer-

Tropsch-derived gasoil.

Any further Fischer-Tropsch gasoil fraction obtained in step (b) of the process that is not contaminant- enriched also may be used in one or more ways as

described herein above, similar to the purified Fischer-

Tropsch gasoil fraction.

The specific use of a particular Fischer-Tropsch gasoil fraction may be dependent on the exact composition and characteristics of that particular Fischer-Tropsch gasoil fraction. The Fischer-Tropsch-derived gasoil as provided in step (a) of the process according to the invention as feedstock is a synthetic gasoil derived from a feedstock other than crude oil, such a methane, coal or biomass, and produced in a Fischer-Tropsch process. The preparation of the Fischer-Tropsch-derived gasoils has been described in e.g. WO02/070628 and WO-A-9934917 (in particular the process as described in Example VII of WO-A-9934917, using the catalyst of Example III of WO-A-9934917) , both of which are hereby incorporated by reference. As mentioned above these Fischer-Tropsch- derived gasoils have a different molecular composition and have significantly different properties compared to crude oil-derived gasoil. Therefore, Fischer-Tropsch- derived gasoils can be clearly distinguished from crude oil-derived gasoils. A number of preferred properties of the Fischer-Tropsch-derived gasoils are provided herein.

Preferably, the Fischer-Tropsch-derived gasoil comprises more than 50wt%, more preferably more than 70 wt% of isoparaffins, still preferably more than 80 wt%. Preferably, Fischer-Tropsch-derived gasoils have an i/n ratio of at least 2, more preferably at least 2.8, even more preferably at least 3.5, still more preferably at least 3.7, even still more preferably at least 4, yet more preferably at least 4.5.

Preferably, the Fischer-Tropsch-derived gasoil comprises in the range of from 20 to 40wt%, preferably of from 21 to 37wt%, more preferably of from 23 to 37wt% of mono-methyl branched isoparaffins , based on the total weight of isoparaffins in the Fischer-Tropsch-derived gasoil .

Preferably, the Fischer-Tropsch-derived gasoil has an initial boiling point of at least 150°C and a final boiling point of at most 450°C at atmospheric conditions.

Suitably, the Fischer-Tropsch-derived gasoil has an initial boiling point of at least 175°C at atmospheric conditions, as determined using ASTM D86. It is noted herein that the initial boiling points, final boiling points and boiling ranges provided herein when describing the present invention are those initial boiling points, final boiling points and boiling ranges as determined by ASTM D86. It is further noted that the initial boiling points, final boiling points and boiling ranges as determined by ASTM D86 for the whole of the Fischer- Tropsch-derived gasoil do not exclude the presence of compounds or fractions that have a true boiling

temperature below or above the respective ASTM D86-based initial boiling point and ASTM D86-based final boiling point of the whole of the Fischer-Tropsch-derived gasoil.

The Fischer-Tropsch-derived gasoil feedstock preferably has a final boiling point of from 330 to 450°C, more preferably of from 331 to 370°C, even more preferably of from 332 to 365°C 333 to 351°C, still more preferably of from 336 to 348°C and even still more preferably of from 339 to 345°C at atmospheric

conditions. By boiling points at atmospheric conditions is meant atmospheric boiling points, which boiling points are determined by ASTM D86.

The Fischer-Tropsch-derived gasoil, also referred to as Fischer-Tropsch full range gasoil, is a fluid comprising paraffins, including isoparaffins and normal paraffins, with alkyl chain lengths in the range of from

7 to 30 carbon atoms, preferably comprising paraffins having from 9 to 25 carbon atoms; the Fischer-Tropsch- derived gasoil comprises preferably at least 70 wt%, more preferably at least 85 wt%, more preferably at least 90 wt%, more preferably at least 95 wt%, and even more preferably at least 98 wt% of Fischer-Tropsch-derived paraffins having 9 to 25 carbon atoms based on the total amount of Fischer-Tropsch-derived paraffins, preferably based on the amount of Fischer-Tropsch-derived paraffins having of from 7 to 30 carbon atoms.

Further, the Fischer-Tropsch-derived gasoil

preferably has a density at 15°C according to ASTM D4052 of from 774 kg/m 3 to 782 kg/m 3 , more preferably of from 775 kg/m 3 to 780 kg/m 3 , and even more preferably of from

776 kg/m 3 to 779 kg/m 3 .

Suitably, the kinematic viscosity at 40°C according to ASTM D445 of the Fischer-Tropsch-derived gasoil is of from 2.3 to 3.0 cSt, preferably of from 2.5 cSt to 2.9 cSt .

Further, the pour point of the Fischer-Tropsch- derived gasoil (according to ASTM D97) is preferably below -10°C, more preferably below -15°C, more preferably below -17°C, more preferably below -20°C, more preferably below -22°C, and even more preferably below -27°C and preferably above -40°C.

Suitably, the cloud point of the Fischer-Tropsch- derived gasoil (according to ASTM D2500) is preferably below -10°C, more preferably below -15°C, more preferably below -18°C, more preferably below -20°C, more preferably below -22°C, and most preferably below -27°C and

preferably above -40°C.

Preferably, the flash point of the Fischer-Tropsch- derived gasoil according to ASTM D93 is of at least 60°C, more preferably 70°C, even more preferably at least 80°C and still more preferably at least 85°C.

The Fischer-Tropsch-derived gasoil has a smoke point according to ASTM D1322 of more than 50 mm.

Typically, the Fischer-Tropsch-derived gasoil provided as feedstock to the process according to the present invention comprises :

- in the range of from 0 to 300 ppmw, more preferably of from 0 to 200 ppmw, still more preferably of from 0 to 100 ppmw, even still more preferably of from 0 to 50 ppmw, most preferably of from 0 to 25ppmw of aromatics, based on the weight of the Fischer-Tropsch-derived gasoil ; - in the range of from 0 to 3 ppmw, more preferably of from 0 to 1 ppmw of oxygenates, calculated based on the weight of the elemental oxygen in the oxygenates and the weight of the Fischer-Tropsch-derived gasoil;

- in the range of from 0 to 3 ppmw, more preferably of from 0 to 1 ppmw, still more preferably of from 0 to 0.2 ppmw, of sulphur-containing hydrocarbonaceous compounds, calculated based on the weight of the elemental sulphur in the sulphur-containing hydrocarbonaceous compounds and the weight of the Fischer-Tropsch-derived gasoil;

- in the range of from 0 to 1 ppmw of nitrogen-containing hydrocarbonaceous compounds, calculated based on the weight of the elemental nitrogen in the nitrogen- containing hydrocarbonaceous compounds and the weight of the Fischer-Tropsch-derived gasoil; and/or

- in the range of from 0 to 2 wt% naphthenics, based on the weight of the Fischer-Tropsch-derived gasoil, wherein at least one of aromatics, oxygenates, sulphur-containing hydrocarbonaceous compounds and nitrogen-containing hydrocarbonaceous compounds is contained in the Fischer-

Tropsch-derived gasoil feedstock, i.e. at least one of the above concentrations is not zero. Particularly, at least one of aromatics and oxygenates is contained in the Fischer-Tropsch-derived gasoil feedstock, i.e. at least one of the above aromatic and oxygenate concentrations is not zero .

Preferably, the Fischer-Tropsch-derived gasoil provided as feedstock to the process according to according to the present invention comprises:

- in the range of from 0 to 300 ppmw, more preferably of from 0 to 200 ppmw, still more preferably of from 0 to 100 ppmw, even still more preferably of from 0 to 50 ppmw, most preferably of from 0 to 25ppmw of aromatics, based on the weight of the Fischer-Tropsch-derived gasoil ;

- in the range of from 0 to 3 ppmw, more preferably of from 0 to 1 ppmw of oxygenates, calculated based on the weight of the elemental oxygen in the oxygenates and the weight of the Fischer-Tropsch-derived gasoil;

- in the range of from 0 to 3 ppmw, more preferably of from 0 to 1 ppmw, still more preferably of from 0 to 0.2 ppmw, of sulphur-containing hydrocarbonaceous compounds, calculated based on the weight of the elemental sulphur in the sulphur-containing hydrocarbonaceous compounds and the weight of the Fischer-Tropsch-derived gasoil;

- in the range of from 0 to 1 ppmw nitrogen-containing hydrocarbonaceous compounds, calculated based on the weight of the elemental nitrogen in the nitrogen- containing hydrocarbonaceous compounds and the weight of the Fischer-Tropsch-derived gasoil; and

- in the range of from 0 to 2 wt% naphthenics, based on the weight of the Fischer-Tropsch-derived gasoil, wherein at least one of aromatics, oxygenates, sulphur-containing hydrocarbonaceous compounds and nitrogen-containing hydrocarbonaceous compounds is contained in the Fischer- Tropsch-derived gasoil feedstock, i.e. at least one of the above concentrations is not zero. Particularly, at least one of aromatics and oxygenates is contained in the

Fischer-Tropsch-derived gasoil feedstock, i.e. at least one of the above aromatic and oxygenate concentrations is not zero. Herein above reference is made to elemental oxygen, elemental sulphur and elemental nitrogen to indicate that the concentration of oxygenates, sulphur- containing hydrocarbonaceous compounds and nitrogen- containing hydrocarbonaceous compounds is determined on the basis of the weight of the oxygen, sulphur and nitrogen atoms present in the gasoil and not on the weight to the complete molecule comprising those oxygen, sulphur and nitrogen atoms .

Further, the Fischer-Tropsch-derived gasoil

preferably comprises less than 300 ppmw polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, more preferably less than 25 ppmw polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons and most preferably less than 1 ppmw polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, based on the weight of the Fischer-Tropsch-derived gasoil.

Further, the Fischer-Tropsch-derived gasoil comprises n- paraffins and may comprise cyclo-alkanes .

In step (b) of the process according to the

invention, the Fischer-Tropsch-derived gasoil feedstock is fractionated into two or more Fischer-Tropsch gasoil fractions, preferably three or more Fischer-Tropsch gasoil fractions, more preferably four or more Fischer- Tropsch gasoil fractions. Particularly, at least one of the Fischer-Tropsch gasoil fractions, in particular a contaminant-enriched Fischer-Tropsch gasoil fraction, obtained in step (b) may exhibits a stronger odor than the Fischer-Tropsch-derived gasoil feedstock.

Preferably, at least one of the Fischer-Tropsch gasoil fractions obtained in step (b) , or ultimately (d) if the Fischer-Tropsch gasoil fraction is provided to step (c), has a final boiling point of at most 260°C, preferably at most 250°C, more preferably at most 215°C. Preferably, at least one of the Fischer-Tropsch gasoil fractions is a Fischer-Tropsch gasoil fraction selected from the group consisting of (1) a Fischer-Tropsch gasoil fraction having a final boiling point of at most 180°C, preferably at most 170°C, (2) a Fischer-Tropsch gasoil fraction an initial boiling point of at least 160°C, preferably at least 170°C, and a final boiling point of at most 200°C, preferably at most 190°C, (3) a Fischer- Tropsch gasoil fraction an initial boiling point of at least 180°C, preferably at least 190°C, and a final boiling point of at most 225°C, preferably at most 215°C, and (4) a Fischer-Tropsch gasoil fraction an initial boiling point of at least 205°C, preferably at least 215°C, and a final boiling point of at most 260°C, preferably at most 250°C, wherein the boiling point is measured at atmospheric conditions, as determined using ASTM D86.

In particular, at least one of the Fischer-Tropsch gasoil fractions obtained in step (b) , or ultimately (d) if the Fischer-Tropsch gasoil fraction is provided to step (c), may be a Fischer-Tropsch gasoil fraction selected from the group consisting of (1) a Fischer-

Tropsch gasoil fraction a final boiling point of at most 180°C, preferably at most 170°C, (2) a Fischer-Tropsch gasoil fraction an initial boiling point of at least 160°C, preferably at least 170°C, and a final boiling point of at most 200°C, preferably at most 190°C, and (3) a Fischer-Tropsch gasoil fraction an initial boiling point of at least 180°C, preferably at least 190°C, and a final boiling point of at most 225°C, preferably at most 215°C, wherein the boiling point is measured at

atmospheric conditions, as determined using ASTM D86.

More in particular, at least one of the Fischer- Tropsch gasoil fractions obtained in step (b), or ultimately (d) if the Fischer-Tropsch gasoil fraction is provided to step (c), may be a Fischer-Tropsch gasoil fraction selected from the group consisting of (2) a

Fischer-Tropsch gasoil fraction an initial boiling point of at least 160°C, preferably at least 170°C, and a final boiling point of at most 200°C, preferably at most 190°C, (3) a Fischer-Tropsch gasoil fraction an initial boiling point of at least 180°C, preferably at least 190°C, and a final boiling point of at most 225°C, preferably at most 215°C, wherein the boiling point is measured at

atmospheric conditions, as determined using ASTM D86.

It has been found that such Fischer-Tropsch gasoil fractions obtained in step (b) having a final boiling point of at most 260 °C, and preferably lower, are especially prone to having undesired odor characteristics and therefore benefit from the absorption process in step

(c) to remove contaminants that cause the undesired odor.

Preferably, at least one of the above described fractions obtained in step (b) is provided to step (c) as the contaminant-enriched Fischer-Tropsch gasoil fraction.

At least one of the Fischer-Tropsch gasoil

fractions, in particular a contaminant-enriched Fischer- Tropsch gasoil fraction, obtained in step (b) may exhibit a color that results in a Saybolt number that is lower than the Saybolt number of the Fischer-Tropsch-derived gasoil feedstock.

The high purity Fischer-Tropsch gasoil fraction (s), retrieved as the purified Fischer-Tropsch gasoil

fraction (s) in step (d) , will have essentially the same boiling point ranges as the contaminant-enriched Fischer- Tropsch gasoil fraction provided to step (c) to prepare said purified Fischer-Tropsch gasoil fraction.

Preferably, at least one of the Fischer-Tropsch gasoil fractions obtained in step (b) , or ultimately (d) if the Fischer-Tropsch gasoil fraction is provided to step (c), has an initial boiling point of more than

260°C, preferably at least 300°C, more preferably at least 310°C. Preferably, at least one of the Fischer- Tropsch gasoil fractions is a Fischer-Tropsch gasoil fraction selected from the group consisting of (1) a Fischer-Tropsch gasoil fraction an initial boiling point of more than 260°C, preferably at least 270°C and a final boiling point of at most 320°C, preferably at most 310°C, (2) a Fischer-Tropsch gasoil fraction having an initial boiling point of at least 310°C, preferably at least 330°C, more preferably at least 360 °C, wherein the boiling point is measured at atmospheric conditions, as determined using ASTM D86.

In particular, at least one of the Fischer-Tropsch gasoil fractions obtained in step (b) , or ultimately (d) if the Fischer-Tropsch gasoil fraction is provided to step (c), may be a Fischer-Tropsch gasoil fraction having an initial boiling point of at least 310°C, preferably at least 330°C, more preferably at least 360°C, wherein the boiling point is measured at atmospheric conditions, as determined using ASTM D86.

It has been found that particularly the Fischer- Tropsch gasoil fractions obtained in step (b) and having an initial boiling point that is more than 260°C are prone to discoloration, i.e. having a Saybolt number that is lower than the Fischer-Tropsch-derived gasoil

feedstock, more in particular below having a Saybolt number below 30. Still more in particular is has been found that a contaminant-enriched Fischer-Tropsch gasoil fraction obtained in step (b) and having an initial boiling point that is more than 330°C, particularly more than 360°C, obtained in step (b) may have a Saybolt number that is lower than 28, in particular lower than 27, more in particular lower than 25.

Preferably, at least one of the above described fractions obtained in step (b) is provided to step (c) as the contaminant-enriched Fischer-Tropsch gasoil fraction. The high purity Fischer-Tropsch gasoil fraction (s), retrieved as the purified Fischer-Tropsch gasoil

fraction (s) in step (d) , will have essentially the same boiling point ranges as the contaminant-enriched Fischer- Tropsch gasoil fraction provided to step (c) to prepare said purified Fischer-Tropsch gasoil fraction.

Preferably, at least one of the Fischer-Tropsch gasoil fractions obtained in step (b) or purified

Fischer-Tropsch gasoil fraction (s) retrieved in step (d) as the high purity Fischer-Tropsch gasoil fraction has an i/n ratio of in the range of from 2 to 6. Preferably, the majority, i.e. more than half, of the Fischer-Tropsch gasoil fractions obtained in step (b) or (d) has an i/n ratio of in the range of from 2 to 6. A high i/n ratio may advantageously have an effect on amongst others the viscosity of the Fischer-Tropsch gasoil fractions.

Increasing the relative concentration of isoparaffin may lower the overall viscosity of the Fischer-Tropsch gasoil fractions. By fractionating the Fischer-Tropsch-derived gasoil feedstock, fractions may be obtained that have an improved i/n ratio, depending on the particular envisaged application .

Preferably, at least one of the Fischer-Tropsch gasoil fractions obtained in step (b) or (d) comprises in the range of from 30 to 75 wt%, more preferably of from

35 to 70wt%, more preferably of from 35 to 60wt% of mono- methyl branched isoparaffins , based on the total weight of isoparaffins in the Fischer-Tropsch gasoil fraction.

Preferably, the majority, i.e. more than half, of the Fischer-Tropsch gasoil fractions obtained in step (b) or (d) comprises in the range of from 30 to 75 wt% of mono-methyl branched isoparaffins , based on the total weight of isoparaffins in the Fischer-Tropsch gasoil fraction. Preferably, at least one of the Fischer- Tropsch gasoil fractions obtained in step (b) or (d) comprises a higher weight percentage of mono-methyl branched isoparaffins , based on the total weight of isoparaffins than the Fischer-Tropsch-derived gasoil feedstock. More preferably, at least two, still more preferably three, of the Fischer-Tropsch gasoil fractions obtained in step (b) or (d) comprises a higher weight percentage of mono-methyl branched isoparaffins, based on the total weight of isoparaffins than the Fischer-

Tropsch-derived gasoil feedstock.

Mono-methyl branched isoparaffins exhibit desirable bio degradation characteristic compared to other

isoparaffins. A relative high concentration of mono- methyl isoparaffins to other isoparaffins may

advantageously effect amongst others the bio degradation characteristics of the Fischer-Tropsch gasoil fractions. Increasing the relative concentration of mono-methyl isoparaffin to other isoparaffins may improve the bio degradation characteristics of the Fischer-Tropsch gasoil fractions beyond the bio degradation characteristics of the Fischer-Tropsch-derived gasoil feedstock.

In a further aspect, the invention provides for a second process for preparing a purified Fischer-Tropsch gasoil fraction, comprising:

i) providing a contaminant-comprising Fischer-Tropsch gasoil fraction, having a final boiling point of no more than 260°C, to an absorption zone comprising at least one absorbent material and contacting the contaminant- comprising Fischer-Tropsch gasoil fraction with the absorbent material to absorb at least part of

contaminant ; ii) retrieving from the absorption zone a purified Fischer-Tropsch gasoil fraction as high purity Fischer- Tropsch gasoil fraction, which purified Fischer-Tropsch gasoil fraction is contaminant-depleted with respect to the contaminant-comprising Fischer-Tropsch gasoil fraction .

The limiting features described herein above for the first process according to the invention, apply mutatis mutandis to the second process according to the

invention. The limiting features described herein above for the contaminant-enriched Fischer-Tropsch gasoil fraction of first process according to the invention apply mutatis mutandis to the contaminant-comprising Fischer-Tropsch gasoil fraction of second process according to the invention.

The limiting features described herein above for step (c) and (d) , respectively, of first process

according to the invention apply mutatis mutandis to step (i), (ii), respectively, of second process according to the invention.

Preferably in the second process according to the invention, the contaminant is selected from the group consisting of oxygenate compounds and aromatics .

Preferably in the second process according to the invention, the absorbent material is a molecular sieve material, preferably zeolite X, zeolite 13X, zeolite Y, dealuminized zeolite Y, ultrastable Y, ZSM-12, mordenite, zeolite beta, zeolite L, zeolite omega, preferably zeolite 13X.

Preferably in the second process according to the invention, the contaminant-comprising Fischer-Tropsch- derived gasoil is contacted with the absorbent material at a temperature in the range of from 0 to 150°C. Preferably in the second process according to the invention, the contaminant-comprising Fischer-Tropsch gasoil fraction is contacted with the absorbent material in a fixed bed reactor comprising at least one fixed bed of absorbent material.

The invention also provides the use of a purified Fischer-Tropsch gasoil fraction obtained in the second process as a solvent, diluent or functional fluid.

In yet a further aspect the invention provides a third process for preparing a purified Fischer-Tropsch gasoil fraction, comprising:

v) providing a contaminant-comprising Fischer-Tropsch gasoil fraction, having an initial boiling point of more than 260°C, to an absorption zone comprising at least one absorbent material and contacting the contaminant- comprising Fischer-Tropsch gasoil fraction with the absorbent material to absorb at least part of

contaminant ;

vv) retrieving from the absorption zone a purified

Fischer-Tropsch gasoil fraction as high purity Fischer-

Tropsch gasoil fraction, which purified Fischer-Tropsch gasoil fraction is contaminant-depleted with respect to the contaminant-comprising Fischer-Tropsch gasoil fraction .

The limiting features described herein above for the first process according to the invention, apply mutatis mutandis to the third process according to the invention. The limiting features described herein above for the contaminant-enriched Fischer-Tropsch gasoil fraction of first process according to the invention apply mutatis mutandis to the contaminant-comprising Fischer-Tropsch gasoil fraction of third process according to the invention . The limiting features described herein above for step (c) and (d) , respectively, of first process

according to the invention apply mutatis mutandis to step (v) , (vv) , respectively, of third process according to the invention.

Preferably in the third process according to the invention, the contaminant is selected from the group consisting of oxygenate compounds and aromatics .

Preferably in the third process according to the invention, the absorbent material is a molecular sieve material, preferably zeolite X, zeolite 13X, zeolite Y, dealuminized zeolite Y, ultrastable Y, ZSM-12, mordenite, zeolite beta, zeolite L, zeolite omega, preferably zeolite 13X.

Preferably in the third process according to the invention, the contaminant-comprising Fischer-Tropsch- derived gasoil is contacted with the absorbent material at a temperature in the range of from 0 to 150°C.

Preferably in the third process according to the invention, the contaminant-comprising Fischer-Tropsch gasoil fraction is contacted with the absorbent material in a fixed bed reactor comprising at least one fixed bed of absorbent material.

The invention also provides the use of a purified Fischer-Tropsch gasoil fraction obtained in the third process as a solvent, diluent or functional fluid.

Examples

The invention is further illustrated by the

following non-limiting examples.

Example 1. A Fischer-Tropsch-derived gasoil having a boiling range of 185 to 350°C, as determined by ASTM D86, was fractionated by distillation into 7 fractions. The properties of the prepared Fischer-Tropsch gasoil fractions are shown in Table 1. The aromatic content was determined by UV absorption spectrometry. The ratio of isoparaffin over normal paraffin and the concentration of mono-methyl branched isoparaffins were determined using gas chromatography.

Odor test procedure:

The odor of the Fischer-Tropsch-derived gasoil feed and the resulting contaminant-enriched and purified fractions were determined by a 4 member panel using the following procedure :

(1) 30mL of samples were provided and stored in a 60mL glass bottle with screw cap;

(2) the cap was removed and the panel member was immediately exposed to the odor of the sample to register the odor signature of the sample; and (3) the cap was replaced directly after the panel member was exposed to the odor of the sample.

The following conditions were observed during the odor tests :

(a) All panel members are to conduct testing on the same day within a period of 4 hours.

(b) Each panel member to perform the odor testing and evaluate all samples in the same room at the same time . Directly following the exposure to an individual sample the panel members provided a qualification of the odor with 5 being poor and 1 being a good odor. The reported odor quality is based on the majority of the votes provided by the panel members.

Table 1

* % of mono-methyl branched isoparaffins , based on the total weight of isoparaffins in the sample.

* the feedstock contains compounds individually boiling below the ASTM D86-based initial boiling point.

The feed gasoil has a relatively low odor and relative low aromatic content.

As can be seen from Table 1, during the fractionation the aromatics accumulate in the lighter fractions. In addition the odor is most prominent, i.e. strong and different from the feed, in the lower boiling fractions .

Example 2.

Three Fischer-Tropsch gasoil fraction samples, representative of samples GS160, GS170 and GS190 from Example 1, were contacted with an absorbent material in an absorption zone. Each Fischer-Tropsch gasoil fraction was separately contacted with fresh absorbent material. The Fischer-Tropsch gasoil fraction samples were first contacted with an Mg silicate absorbent material and subsequently with zeolite 13X absorbent material. The volume ratio of Fischer-Tropsch gasoil fraction to absorbent material was 82 for the Zeolite 13x and 210 for the Mg silicate. The Fischer-Tropsch gasoil fraction was contacted with the absorbent material at ambient

pressures and temperatures. The properties of the purified Fischer -Tropsch gasoil fractions are shown in

Table 2.

Table 2

As can be seen from Table 2, Mg silicate does not significantly remove aromatics from the contaminant- enriched Fischer-Tropsch gasoil fractions. However, an improvement of the odor is observed. This is attributed to the absorption of other contaminants in particular oxygenates. Zeolite 13X does absorb a significant part of the aromatics and a further improvement of the smell is observed .

Example 3.

A Fischer-Tropsch gasoil fraction sample

representative of sample GS270 from Example 1, was contacted with a zeolite 13X absorbent material in an absorption zone. The properties of the purified Fischer-

Tropsch gasoil fractions are shown in Table 3. As can be seen in Table 3, both the color and the odor

characteristics of the Fischer-Tropsch gasoil fraction sample were significantly improved after contacting the contaminant-enriched fraction with the absorbent material according to the invention.

Table 3

Sample absorbent Saybolt color Odor

[-] l=good 5=poor

GS270 untreated 23 3

GS270 zeolite 13X +30 1