Chevron and Honeywell Commission the First-of-its-Kind ISOALKY Unit
- Journalist: Robert Hume
Chevron Corporation and Honeywell UOP, in alliance, have recently announced the commissioning and start-up of their world’s first commercial-scale ISOALKY™ processing unit that uses ionic liquids to manufacture alkylates.
The companies’ ISOALKY™ technology is a breakthrough for the refining industry’s alkylation needs.The cost-effective technology generates high-quality alkylate to facilitate increased octane number in motor fuels. It is specifically designed to cater to the refinery’s alkylation requirements in replacement to the conventional liquid acid systems due to its process safety and performance advantages.
The technology was first used in Chevron’s Salt Lake City refinery, wherein the company had decided to retrofit their HF Alkylation Plant with the novel technology. The catalyst-based technology utilizes a non-aqueous liquid salt, or ionic liquid, and is handled with standard personal protective equipment. It produces a high-octane blending component that helps in cutting down the environmental impact of gasoline. Launched by Chevron U.S.A., Inc., a subsidiary of Chevron, and licensed to Honeywell UOP, the American multi-national company and global technology licensor for petroleum refining, gas processing, petrochemical production, this technology is offered to the entire industry under the brand name-ISOALKY™.
Honeywell UOP and Chevron collaborated in 2016 to license ISOALKY Technology to the industry. “The ISOALKY™ unit is an exciting achievement for Chevron and the Salt Lake Refinery, and it’s poised to be a game changer for the refining industry,” said Mike Coyle, president of Chevron Manufacturing. “Ionic liquids have strong acid properties that enable them to produce alkylate without the volatility of conventional acids, allowing for simpler handling procedures. Together with Chevron, Honeywell UOP has commercialized a solution that meets the rising global demand for cleaner-burning fuels at a lower cost while simplifying complex handling requirements,” stated Bryan Glover, president and CEO of Honeywell UOP in the company’s press released.
Alkylate gasoline is an important component for motor and aviation fuels, providing low emission levels and high-octane number, thereby sought by most of the refiners. It is usually produced by the acid-catalysed reactions of alkenes with hydrocarbons to yield highly volatile, and higher octane, iso-alkanes. However, a strong acid such as Sulfuric Acid (H2SO4) and Hydrofluoric Acid (HF) is conventionally used to activate the olefin stream for alkylation, both of which have certain associated drawbacks.
As per ChemAnalyst,” The new technology is the first such alkylate gasoline production technology in over 75 years and holds numerous cost and safety-related advantages. It is likely to be a game-changer both for the developers and the world’s leading refiners who are planning to house effective technologies for their new construction plants or retrofit/ expand the already existing plants.”