Ionic liquid alkylation technology receives award
Honeywell (NYSE: HON) announced its Honeywell UOP business and Chevron U.S.A. Inc., a subsidiary of Chevron Corp. (NYSE: CVX), received the 2017 Platts Breakthrough Solution of the Year award in recognition for the development of the ISOALKY process, the first liquid alkylation technology to be introduced in 75 years. The technology, initially developed by Chevron, uses an ionic liquid catalyst to produce high-octane motor fuels. Chevron licensed the technology to Honeywell UOP, which offers the technology as an alternative to traditional technologies that use hydrofluoric or sulfuric acids as a liquid alkylation catalyst.
Jim Rekoske, VP and chief technology officer for Honeywell UOP, said: "The ionic liquids technology is economically compelling, and far easier to handle than conventional liquid acid technologies, while delivering the same yields and high levels of octane." Chevron proved the ISOALKY technology over a five-year period in a demonstration unit at its Salt Lake City refinery.
The company broke ground on a retrofit project to convert its hydrofluoric acid (HF) alkylation unit at that refinery to ISOALKY technology. The completed ISOALKY unit will be operational in 2020, at which time the refinery’s HF equipment and its inventory of hydrofluoric acid will be removed.
ISOALKY technology uses a non-aqueous liquid salt-or ionic liquid-at temperatures below 100 ºC to convert a stream from a fluid catalytic cracker into a high-octane blending component that produces a cleaner-burning gasoline product. The process can be used in new refineries and, under most circumstances, in existing facilities undergoing capital expansion.
The ionic liquid has strong acid properties, enabling it to perform catalysis, but without the volatility of conventional acids. It can produce alkylate from a wider range of feedstocks than conventional acid technologies while using a lower volume of catalyst. The ionic liquid catalyst has a very low vapor pressure and can be regenerated on-site, giving it a favorable environmental footprint compared to other technologies.
– Edited from a Honeywell press release by CFE Media.