This is the second article in a review of patents issued in 2016 in the area of Fluid Catalytic Cracking (FCC). The summary below covers three patents relating to FCC equilibrium catalyst. For as long as there have been FCC’s, refiners have had to manage catalyst additions and losses. If the catalyst additions were the same as the losses then catalyst inventory would be maintained. If catalyst losses were greater than additions, then purchased ECAT would have to be added. If additions were greater than losses, then ECAT would need to be withdrawn from the unit. Withdrawn catalyst is sometimes transferred to brokers who then sell it to refiners needing ECAT for their units, otherwise it is disposed of, e.g., sold into cement manufacturing applications. The following three patents demonstrate attempts to upgrade the value of ECAT. The first treats ECAT to convert it to a metals trap, the second and third adjust the ECAT particle size distribution. It will be interesting to see whether this trend in ECAT-related inventions continues.

The patents related to ECAT are summarized below. Attached Table 1 lists relevant information on the patents. Table 2 contains a representative independent claim from each.

U.S. Patent No. 9,266,101 describes a treated equilibrium catalyst having improved metals trapping capability. The patent has a total of thirty-five claims with three independent claims. The first independent claim, claim 1, is directed to spent FCC catalyst where an activity enhancer has been incorporated onto it. The activity enhancer is an aluminium compound or a mixture of aluminium and rare earth compounds. The second independent claim, claim 17, is directed to process for producing the treated ECAT comprising introducing the aluminium compound or mixture of aluminium and rare earth compounds onto the ECAT. The third independent claim, claim 34, is directed to a three-step process comprising: preparing an aluminium or aluminium/rare earth compound solution; wet-impregnation of the spend FCC catalyst with the solution; oven-drying the impregnated FCC catalyst; and calcining the oven-dried product.

U.S. Patent No. 9,242,235 (‘235 Patent) and U.S. Patent No. 9,393,556 (‘556 Patent) describe ECAT’s having adjusted particle size distributions and methods for producing them. The ‘235 Patent has a single claim directed to an FCC cracking catalyst having no more than 5% by weight of particles larger than 105µ and where at least 90% of particulates less than 20µ have been removed. The ‘556 Patent has 20 total claims with three independent claims. The first independent claim, claim 1, is directed to a process for making the catalyst including providing a spray-dried catalyst; and removing greater than 50% of material over 70µ to create a portion of catalyst where the portion greater than 70µ is less than 50% of the original particles, and a portion having a size above 70µ. The second independent claim, claim 7, is a process for making an improved spray-dried catalyst comprising removing greater than 50% of particles below a minimum threshold and greater than fifty percent of particles above a maximum threshold. The third independent claim, claim 14, is directed to a process comprising first classifying a catalyst and then separating the fractions via physical screening. The fourth independent claim, claim 16, is directed to a catalyst composition obtained by spray-drying a mixture of particles, removing greater than 50% of the particles between 20 and 50µ and greater than 50% of particles between 70 and 110µ.

Table 1: FCC Patents — Equilibrium Catalyst

Patent Number Inventor Assignee Title Issue Date
U.S. 9,266,101 Mohan et al. Indian Oil Corporation Ltd. Value Added Spent Fluid Catalytic Cracking Catalyst Composition And A Process For Preparation Thereof February 23, 2016
U.S. 9,242,235 Quinones Integrated & Proven Catalyst Technologies Corp. Separation of Fluid Catalytic Cracking Equilibrium Catalysts To Improve Value And Reduce Waste January 26, 2016
U.S. 9,393,556 Quinones Quanta Technologies, LLC Process To Improve Formulations Of Hydrocarbon Conversion Catalysts Through Removal and Modification Of Detrimental Particles And Reuse Of Modified Fractions July 19, 2016

Table 2: FCC Equilibrium Catalyst

Patent Number Independent Claim
U.S. 9,266,101 Claim 1. A value added fluid catalytic cracking (FCC) catalyst composition consisting essentially of spent FCC catalyst introduced thereto a substance (activity enhancer) selected from either an aluminium component or a mixture/combination of rare earth component and an aluminium component.
U.S. 9,242,235 Claim 1. A particulate cracking catalyst including particles having from 20-40 microns and no more than 5% by weight particles larger than 105 microns and wherein at least 90% by weight of all particulates less 20 microns have been removed, wherein the catalyst is used in a fluid catalytic cracking petroleum refining process in order to refine petroleum.
U.S. 9,393,556

Claim 1. A process to make an improved spray-dried fluid hydrocarbon conversion catalyst the improvement comprising: (a) providing spray dried fluid hydrocarbon conversion catalyst particles; (b) removing greater than fifty percent (50%) of particles above 70 microns thereby creating the improved spray-dried fluid hydrocarbon conversion catalyst with improved accessibility or diffusion having less than fifty percent (50%) of the original particles above 70 microns and a catalyst fraction having particles above 70 microns.