FLUIDIZED-BED CATALYTIC CRACKING UNITS EMULATION IN PILOT PLANT
Due to necessity to predict accurately the performance of fluidized-bed catalytic cracking (FCC) industrial units, after feedstock or catalyst is changed, use of pilot plant as emulation devices has been increasing. Among these pilot plants, the Recirculation Catalyst Pilot Plant is the small-scale simulator that closer matches the behaviour of industrial units. This kind of pilot plants consists of riser, stripper, regenerator and separation column that perform duties similar to those of industrial units. Additionally, this pilot plant is able to operate using a descendant flow reactor (downer) in order to emulate several technological trends; which operation mode promises better selectivity. FCC process involves many variables interconnected in complex way, making a difficult task to predict its performance when operating far from original design conditions. Nevertheless, using the same catalyst, the same feedstock and the same main operating conditions of industrial units, it is possible to emulate the performance of industrial units in pilot plant. In this work, the characteristic relationship between pilot plant and industrial units is shown with examples of emulation, establishing its importance in research and support of technical services. Scaleup problems are addressed and solutions that mimic operating data from an industrial plant are found. Conversion results are shown graphically to easily assess industrial potential benefits that can be drawn from pilot plant emulation
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