Brazilian oil company Petroleo Brasileiro has filed a patent for a process to produce aromatic compounds from fossil or renewable sources. The process involves catalytic cracking at lower temperatures, between 480°C and 620°C, to generate coked catalysts that can be combusted at lower temperatures. The regeneration temperature must be 40°C to 100°C higher than the reaction temperature, and the catalyst used must contain zeolite with intermediate-sized pores. These conditions enhance the production of aromatics and improve the octane rating of the produced naphtha. GlobalData’s report on Petroleo Brasileiro gives a 360-degree view of the company including its patenting strategy. Buy the report here.

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According to GlobalData’s company profile on Petroleo Brasileiro, Microscale biofuel reactors was a key innovation area identified from patents. Petroleo Brasileiro's grant share as of September 2023 was 41%. Grant share is based on the ratio of number of grants to total number of patents.

Process for obtaining aromatics from linear chain streams

Source: United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO). Credit: Petroleo Brasileiro SA

A patent application (Publication Number: US20230312434A1) describes a process for obtaining aromatics from hydrocarbon streams with linear chains containing 5 to 18 carbon atoms. The process involves several steps. First, a preheated feed stream is introduced into a fluid catalytic cracking reactor, where it comes into contact with an intermediate pore zeolite catalyst from a regenerator. This results in a mixture of gaseous cracking products and coke-deactivated catalyst. The cracking products and the coke-deactivated catalyst are then separated. The coke-deactivated catalyst is subjected to a rectification step with water vapor to remove light hydrocarbons. The rectified catalyst is then regenerated by combusting the coke deposited on the catalyst particles at a temperature not exceeding 600°C. The regenerated catalyst is returned to the reactor to continue the catalytic cracking process. The hydrocarbon streams obtained in the catalytic cracking reactor are sent to a fractionation section to separate the produced hydrocarbons based on their boiling points. The catalyst regeneration temperature is at least 40°C and at most 100°C higher than the reaction temperature.

The patent application also mentions that the preheated feed stream can contain triglycerides with carbonic chain fatty acids from plant and/or animal biomass. It can also contain free carbonic chain fatty acids. The concentration of triglycerides in the feed stream can be greater than 65% by mass of fatty acids. The triglyceride can be selected from various sources such as soybean oil, castor oil, cottonseed oil, palm oil, pine oil, sunflower oil, jatropha oil, algae oil, beef tallow, and other oils of animal or plant origin. The preheated feed stream can consist of a single oil or a mixture of two or more oils in any ratios. Alternatively, the preheated feed stream can be a stream of fossil hydrocarbons selected from oil refining streams with boiling points between 40°C and 300°C.

The patent application also provides details about the operating conditions of the process. The reactor operates at pressures ranging from 200 to 400 kPa, with a catalyst-oil ratio between 5 and 30, and a contact time between 1.0 and 3.0 seconds. The hydrocarbon streams obtained in the catalytic cracking reactor can include fuel gas, liquefied gas, naphtha, and other hydrocarbons. The fluid catalytic cracking reactor used in the process is of the riser type. The air used in the combustion of the coke deposited on the catalyst is preheated through a furnace and fed into the regeneration section at temperatures between 400°C and 550°C.

The patent application also describes the characteristics of the aromatic stream obtained in the process. It has a typical naphtha distillation range between 30°C and 220°C and is 100% of renewable origin. The aromatic stream contains between 70% and 90% aromatics with a benzene ring, along with paraffinic and olefinic compounds. It has an octane rating of at least 100 RON and 85 MON.

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GlobalData’s Company Filings Analytics uses machine learning to uncover key insights and track sentiment across millions of regulatory filings and other corporate disclosures for thousands of companies representing the world’s largest industries. This analysis is combined with crucial details on strategic and investment priorities, innovation strategies, and CXO insights to provide comprehensive company profiles.