FSC 432
Petroleum Processing

Catalytic Reforming Processes


Catalytic Reforming Processes

Even in the presence of hydrogen during reforming reactions, catalysts are deactivated by coke deposition. Commercial catalytic cracking processes are classified based on how catalysts are regenerated, as shown below, as semi-regenerative, cyclic, and continuous reforming processes. The first commercial catalytic reforming process was introduced by UOP in 1949 as the PlatformingTM process that used three fixed-bed reactors. Figure 8.4 (on next page), shows a process with two reactors. The reactors operate in series with furnaces placed before each reactor to heat the feedstock and the reactor effluents to 500–530°C before entering each reactor because the predominant reforming reactions are highly endothermic. These units, called “semi-regenerative catalytic reformers,” need to be shut down once every 6–24 months for the in-situ regeneration of catalysts that are deactivated by coke deposition. Later designs included an extra reactor (a swing reactor) to enable isolation of one reactor at a time to undergo catalyst regeneration, whereas the other three reactors are running (Cyclic). This configuration enables longer on-stream times (up to 5 years) before scheduled shutdowns for catalyst regeneration, but it has not become popular. In the HYSYS Project 2, you will be comparing the performance of the three different configurations of catalytic reforming processes.

Catalytic Reforming Processes

Catalytic Reforming Processes Based on Catalyst Regeneration

  1. Semi-regenerative (1949) – unit taken off-stream anywhere from every 3 to 24 months
  2. Cyclic (1960) – involves swing reactor. Basically, operate 3 out of 4 and use extra reactor to take one offline.
  3. Continuous (1971) – catalyst is removed and replaced during the operation. Maintains high activity. Expensive.

Licenced Processes (differences in catalysts and reactor configurations)

  1. Platforming (UOP process) (1949)
  2. Powerforming (Exxon)
  3. Ultraforming (Amoco)
  4. Catalytic Reforming (Engelhard)
  5. Magnaforming (Arco)
  6. Reforming (IEP)
  7. Rheniforming (Chevron)