Honeywell UOP Supplies Alkylation Tech to China

  • Honeywell UOP Supplies Alkylation Tech to China (c) TTstudio/ShutterstockHoneywell UOP Supplies Alkylation Tech to China (c) TTstudio/Shutterstock

China’s Hongrun Petrochemical, a Sinochem subsidiary, has licensed Honeywell UOP’s Isoalky ionic liquids alkylation technology for its refinery complex in Shandong.

Honeywell said Hongrun is the first petrochemicals manufacturer in China to license the process, which is an alternative to conventional liquid acid or solid catalyst systems.

The technology, developed in collaboration with Chevron USA in 2016, uses ionic liquids as a catalyst (rather than conventional hydrofluoric or sulfuric acids) to produce alkylate, which is a critical component for making high-octane motor fuels.

The ionic liquids have strong acid properties that enable them to produce alkylate, but without the volatility of conventional acids. They are also easier to handle than sulfuric and hydrofluoric acids because of their low vapor pressure.

“Isoalky technology is a compelling solution to meeting the increased demand for cleaner-burning fuels, but with far simpler handling requirements than with conventional liquid acid technologies,” said Bryan Glover, vice president and general manager of Honeywell UOP's process technology and equipment business. “The ionic liquid catalyst at the heart of the process delivers equal or better yields of high-quality alkylate needed for refiners to meet new requirements for higher-octane, cleaner-burning fuels.”

Chevron, which has piloted and run the technology for the past five years at its Salt Lake City, Utah, refinery, is currently converting its hydrofluoric acid alkylation unit to use the  Isoalky process.

According to Honeywell UOP, more than half of the world's approximately 700 refineries currently have alkylation units that use hydrofluoric or sulfuric acid.

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