Catalytic Upgrading of Heavy Oils and Vacuum Residuals

Heavy Oils including waste petroleum oil can be catalytic cracked using a modified pyrolysis process and additional catalyst to promote the reaction. The result is lighter more valuable liquid products as well as high energy value gas which could be used to supply the required heat for the reaction.

Vacuum Residuals are a by-product of the heavy oil refining industry and are the residue found in the bottom of distillation towers. Because of there long chain structure they won’t flow unless heated to above 80-100 C. We used a custom designed injection system to heat and inject these residuals into our reactor at high temperatures and then quench and recover the products. A significant amount of liquid petroleum was produced as well as flammable gases.

This analysis shows that it is possible to recover considerable amounts of liquid product from the pyrolysis and catalytic cracking of heavy oils at reasonably low temperatures, thus reducing the energy input required and therefore the cost. Further analysis is required to fully understand this process however it is feasible and utilize an energy source which would otherwise be expensive to treat and dispose of.