Shell has patented a method to pretreat hydrocarbon steam cracker feed using solvents to reduce fouling components, improving efficiency. The process involves contacting the feed with specific solvents to enhance the quality of cracked products. GlobalData’s report on Shell 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 Shell, was a key innovation area identified from patents. Shell's grant share as of February 2024 was 69%. Grant share is based on the ratio of number of grants to total number of patents.

Method for pretreating hydrocarbon steam cracker feed to reduce fouling

Source: United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO). Credit: Shell plc

A recently granted patent (Publication Number: US11920094B2) discloses a method for pretreating a hydrocarbon steam cracker feed, particularly one containing pyrolysis oil from plastic waste and contaminants like nitrogen or oxygen. The method involves using a solvent such as furfural or sulfolane to reduce fouling components in the feed, decrease contaminant content, and produce a rich solvent with higher fouling components and contaminants. These fouling components, including polycyclic aromatics and resins, are known to cause issues in various sections of a steam cracker, and the solvent selection plays a crucial role in the process.

Furthermore, the patent outlines a process for steam cracking hydrocarbons, incorporating the pretreatment method described earlier. By heating the pretreated feed and passing it through the steam cracker under specific cracking conditions, cracked products are produced. The process also involves removing fouling components from the rich solvent for use in other parts of the steam cracker system, such as a quench oil stream or to reduce the viscosity of heavy pitch and cracked gasoil streams. Additionally, the process includes steps like passing cracked products through heat exchangers to lower their temperature and maintaining specific quantities of non-paraffinic hydrocarbons in the feed to optimize the cracking process.

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GlobalData, the leading provider of industry intelligence, provided the underlying data, research, and analysis used to produce this article.

GlobalData’s Patent Analytics tracks patent filings and grants from official offices around the world. Textual analysis and official patent classifications are used to group patents into key thematic areas and link them to specific companies across the world’s largest industries.