ZSM-5-containing catalytic additives are widely used in oil refineries to boost light olefin production and improve gasoline octanes in the Fluid Catalytic Cracking (FCC) process. Under the hydrothermal conditions present in the FCC regenerator (typically >700 °C and >8% steam), FCC catalysts and additives are subject to deactivation. Zeolites (e.g., Rare Earth USY in the base catalyst and ZSM-5 in Olefins boosting additives) are prone to dealumination and partial structural collapse, thereby losing activity, micropore surface area, and undergoing changes in selectivity. Fresh catalyst and additives are added at appropriate respective levels to the FCC unit on a daily basis to maintain overall targeted steady-state (equilibrated) activity and selectivity. To mimic this process under accelerated laboratory conditions, a commercial P/ZSM-5 additive was hydrothermally equilibrated via a steaming process at two temperatures: 788 °C and 815 °C to simulate moderate and more severe equilibration industrial conditions, respectively. n
-Dodecane was used as probe molecule and feed for micro-activity cracking testing at 560 °C to determine the activity and product selectivity of fresh and equilibrated P-doped ZSM-5 additives. The fresh/calcined P/ZSM-5 additive was very active in C12
cracking while steaming limited its activity, i.e., at catalyst-to-feed (C/F) ratio of 1, about 70% and 30% conversion was obtained with the fresh and steamed additives, respectively. A greater activity drop was observed upon increasing the hydrothermal deactivation severity due to gradual decrease of total acidity and microporosity of the additives. However, this change in severity did not result in any selectivity changes for the LPG (liquefied petroleum gas) olefins as the nature (Brønsted-to-Lewis ratio) of the acid/active sites was not significantly altered upon steaming. Steam deactivation of ZSM-5 had also no significant effect on aromatics formation which was enhanced at higher conversion levels. Coke remained low with both fresh and steam-deactivated P/ZSM-5 additives.
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