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 Atmospheric-vacuum Distillation Unit
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 Delayed Coking Unit
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 Hydrogen Generation Plant
 Fluidized Catalytic Cracking Unit
 Desulfurization
 Aromatic Extraction Unit
 Alkylation Unit
 Para-xylene Unit
 PTA Unit
 Unit for Ethylbenzene Production from Dry Gas
 LPG Fractionation Unit
 Methanol to Olefin (MTO) Unit

 
Home > Achievements > Scientific Research


For over 50 years, LPEC has been focusing on developing world leading-edge refining and petrochemical technologies, and devoting itself to technical innovation in petrochemical industry in China. LPEC has solely or jointly developed proprietary refinery technologies and engineering technologies such as vacuum deep cut process, delayed coking process with flexible adjustment of recycle ratio, super low pressure continuous reforming process (SLCR), flexible dual-riser fluidized catalytic cracking process (FDFCC) and methanol to olefin process(MTO), as well as best-in-class equipment and refinery additives, including hydrogenation reactor internals, pulse electric desalter, FCC external catalyst cooler, additives for refinery process units and cold-rolling oil for thin steel plates.

 

1  Process and Engineering Technologies

 

1.1  Flexible Dual-riser Fluidized Catalytic Cracking (FDFCC)-III Process Technology

With implementation of increasingly stringent gasoline quality standard and urgent demand for propylene in petrochemical market, most refineries now face the challenges of upgrading their gasoline products and improving economic benefits. Flexible Dual-riser Fluidized Catalytic Cracking (FDFCC)-III Process is a proprietary technology of LPEC. It is technically proven to be reliable in producing clean gasoline fuels and achieving a successful refining and chemical integration. FDFCC-III Process Technology utilizes dual risers instead of single riser as used in conventional FCC process. With newly installed equipment of gasoline disengager and secondary fractionator, spent catalyst for gasoline is introduced into catalyst pre-lift mixer of feedstock risers, which enables high-efficiency catalytic cracking at low temperature contact and high catalyst to oil ratio. this will significantly reduce sulfur and olefin in gasoline while increasing gasoline octane number and converting crude gasoline into high value-added products like LPG and propylene. It also facilitates reasonable adjustment and optimization of operation and product slates. As compared with conventional FCC process, FDFCC-III Process has outstanding advantages of good adaptability to feedstock, flexible optimization of product slates, increased yields of high value-added products, improved gasoline quality and reduced SOx emission . This technology has been evaluated by a specialist panel from SINOPEC, which concludes that FDFCC-III Process is endowed with proprietary intellectual property rights and is at a world cutting-edge. FDDCC-III Process has been applied in commercial process units in SINOPEC Changling Petrochemical Company and SINOPEC Jinan Petrochemical Company.

 

1.2  Super Low Pressure Continuous Catalytic Reforming Process (SLCR)

 

Along with development of large refineries and petrochemical plants, more and more petroleum refiners are interested in CCR technologies. Previously, world CCR technologies were mainly monopolized by UOP and IFP. In China, CCR units were initially constructed with process license and PDP or only patent license from offshore process licensors, and project design and engineering were made by onshore contractors. However, licensor specialists were required to provide technical instructions and supports when process units were started up, Therefore, costs for process unit construction was increased. Through its years of R & D efforts and by its extensive rich experience in project engineering design and large-size cold mold simulation, LPEC has successfully developed a proprietary SLCR Process in cooperation with other cooperation partners, which has been successfully applied in commercial CCR units.

As one of SINOPEC Ten Key Science & Technology Projects in 2003, SLCR Process was employed in a 700,000 CCR Unit for revamp in SINOPEC Luoyang Petrochemical Company, and this revamp project was honored with the Special Innovation Prize of Project Survey and Design in Henan Province in 2006, and SINOPEC Gold Medal Prize of Science and Technology Progress in 2007.
At present, LPEC's SLCR Process represents the third-generation CCR process in China. And its techno-economic performance is equivalent to that of the latest CCR processes in the world. SLCR technology has been commercialized in the process units in SINOPEC Luoyang Petrochemical Company and Guangzhou Petrochemical Company.


 

1.3  Methanol to Olefin Process (DMTO)

 

DMTO Process is a world leading proprietary process developed by LPEC jointly with Dalian Institute of Chemical Physics of Chinese Academy of Sciences and Shanxi Xinxing Coal Chemical Technology Development Co., Ltd. In 2005, a 10,000 TPY DMTO Pilot Unit was constructed in Huaxian County, Shanxi Province. It was tested in the first half year of 2006, and then technically certified by the state certification authorities in Aug 2006. DMTO technology has a great significance, both economically and strategically, for securing energy supply and developing modern CTC industry in China. At present, Shenhua (Baotou) Coal Chemical Co., Ltd starts to construct a 600,000 TPY DMTO Unit, which is the first large commercial DMTO unit in the world, and it has been put into operation in 2010.

 

1.4  FCC Gasoline Hydrodesulfurization and Aromatization Process (Hydro-GAP)

 

In China, FCC gasoline is a key component for gasoline pool, but it has common disadvantages of higher olefin and sulfur contents and lower octane number. Conventional hydro-treating technologies can effectively reduce both sulfur and olefin in FCC gasoline. However, the reduced olefin content leads to significant reduction of gasoline octane. Therefore, it is critical and also a hard task to develop a cleaner gasoline production process to maintain proper octane while reducing sulfur and olefin. Hydro-GAP developed by LPEC can reduce both sulfur and olefin in FCC gasoline while maintaining the gasoline octane. The gasoline yield is higher than 95% and benzene content is reduced, which provides a new process route for cleaner gasoline production in China. Hydro-GAP Process now has been commercially demonstrated in SINOPEC Jingmen Petrochemical Company.

 

1.5  Residue Hydrotreating Process

 

RHT Process is designed in such a way that residue feedstock is subject to a trains of reactions, such as hydro-desulfurization, hydrodemetallization, hydrodenitrogenation, aromatics saturation and hydro-cracking to remove sulfur, nitrogen, metals, carbon residue, colloid and asphaltene. It is not only applicable for producing low-sulfur fuel oil, but also good for improving residue hydro-conversion depth to produce part of light oil and pretreating feedstock for downstream process units (such as Delayed Coking Unit, RFCC Unit and HC Unit). As one of SINOPEC Ten Key Science & Technology Projects during the 9th Five-Year Plan, a 20,000 TPY Residue Hydro-treating Plant (S-RHT) was constructed in Maoming Petrochemical Company, which employs RHT Process jointly developed by LPEC, Maoming Petrochemical Company, Fushun Research Institute of Petroleum and Petrochemicals (FRIPP) and Qilu Petrochemical Company, and it is the first RHT Unit designed with Chinese process and catalysts, and main equipment are designed, fabricated and installed by onshore vendors and contractors. Its commercialization demonstrates that Chinese RHT technology is stepping towards the world leading edge. The 20,000 TPY S-RHT Unit in Maoming Petrochemical Company was honored with the State Gold Medal Prize of Excellent Engineering Design in 2002, and the State Gold Medal Prize of Science and Technology Progress in 2003. The process is commercialized in 20,000 TPY S-RHT Unit in SINOPEC Maoming Petrochemical Company.

 

1.6  Delayed Coking Process with Flexible Adjustment of Reycle Ratio

 

Conventional delayed coking units normally employ a process flow where oil vapor is directly heat exchanged with vacuum residue in feed section of fractionator, heavy component condensing in feed oil vapor is controlled by heat exchanging extent so as to adjust the recycle ratio. However, when the process is operated at a lower recycle ratio (<0.2), fractionator's lower section is prone to coking, affecting the normal operation of radiation feed pump, and consequently shortening operation cycle due to coking in tubes in radiation chamber. Therefore it is very difficult for Delayed Coking Unit to be operated at low recycle ratio. To solve this problem, LPEC developed a new Delayed Coking Process with flexible adjustment of recycle ratio (Patent No.: ZL02139312.5), where recycle oil is withdrawn for directly mixing with vacuum residue for cycle ratio adjustment. The reaction heat is removed via pumparound loop, and direct heat exchanging between oil vapor and vacuum residue in fractionator is cancelled. Therefore, the recycle ratio can be flexibly adjusted, and coking in fractionator lower section can be also significantly decreased at low recycle ratio or even ultra low recycle ratio. Additionally, as vacuum residue feedstock does not directly contact with oil vapor which contains coke powder, this will greatly reduce coke powder passing through feed pump, resulting in mitigation of abrasion to feed pump and extension of pump service life. Recycle oil can be either heavy GO, light GO or diesel for this delayed coking process designed with flexible adjustment of recycle oil ratio. This technology has been applied in commercial process units in SINOPEC Jinling Petrochemical Company, SINOPEC Tianjin Petrochemical Company, SINOPEC Wuhan Petrochemical Company and PetroChina Dushanzi Petrochemical Company.

 

1.7  Vacuum Deep Cut Process

 

VDU cut varies depending on crude categories. For CDU where paraffin-base crude with low sulfur and metals is used as the feedstock to maximize fuels and as vacuum residue can be all directly sent to RFCC Unit, VDU cut is not a great concern, or even VDU can be eliminated. For CDU operated to maximize lube oil, VDU cut depends on the required lube viscosity and the configuration of Propane Deasphalting Unit. For CDU operated to produce paving asphalt, VDU cut shall satisfy asphalt performance requirements. However, for high-sulfur and high-metal crude, VDU cut has different significance to downstream process units. Vacuum residue with high sulfur and metal contents is hard to be further treated in RFCC Unit, and solvent deasphalting process or delayed coking process is normally selected. If such vacuum residue is used as feed to RFCC Unit, a pre-hydrotreating section is required, resulting in higher capital investment and operation cost for RFCC Unit. In these scenarios, VDU cut and cut quality are to be two key factors affecting plant economics. VGO from deep cut process can be used as the feedstock of Residue HC Unit, and if it is fed to RFCC Unit, the capital investment and operation cost for the required pre-hydrotreating unit in RFCC Unit are lower than those for Residue HC Unit.

VDU cut varies depending on crude categories. For CDU where paraffin-base crude with low sulfur and metals is used as the feedstock to maximize fuels and as vacuum residue can be all directly sent to RFCC Unit, VDU cut is not a great concern, or even VDU can be eliminated. For CDU operated to maximize lube oil, VDU cut depends on the required lube viscosity and the configuration of Propane Deasphalting Unit. For CDU operated to produce paving asphalt, VDU cut shall satisfy asphalt performance requirements. However, for high-sulfur and high-metal crude, VDU cut has different significance to downstream process units. Vacuum residue with high sulfur and metal contents is hard to be further treated in RFCC Unit, and solvent deasphalting process or delayed coking process is normally selected. If such vacuum residue is used as feed to RFCC Unit, a pre-hydrotreating section is required, resulting in higher capital investment and operation cost for RFCC Unit. In these scenarios, VDU cut and cut quality are to be two key factors affecting plant economics. VGO from deep cut process can be used as the feedstock of Residue HC Unit, and if it is fed to RFCC Unit, the capital investment and operation cost for the required pre-hydrotreating unit in RFCC Unit are lower than those for Residue HC Unit.

 

2  Hardware Technologies Developed for Refinery Processes

 

2.1  Crude Oil Pulse Electric Desalter Technology

 

In China, as increasing amount of sulfur crude oil is processed in refineries, conventional electric desalting process shows its disadvantages such as easy crude emulsification, difficult crude-water separation, low desalting efficiency, high oil content in drainage water and higher power consumption. At present, full-impedance transformers are normally employed for all electric desalting systems, which can cause voltage drop when current is increased, aggravating the desalter operation. To deal with these disadvantages of conventional desalter operation, LPEC has developed a new pulse electric desalter technology based on years' R&D , which features good demulsification, fast crude and water separation, lower chemical consumption and lower electric power consumption via transient HF and HV electric field provided by pulse power source. It can improve dewatering efficiency and is good for varieties of crudes. This technology has been commercially applied in the process unit in SINOPEC Luoyang Petrochemical Company.

 

2.2  Hydro-reactor Internals

 

LPEC has developed a series of new hydro-reactor internals such as distributors and quench boxes, etc, whose hydro-dynamic, distribution performances, mixed-phase heat transfer performance and operational flexibility are superior to those of offshore proprietary internals, which can be widely employed for reactors in hydrogenation process units. These hydro-reactor internals developed by LPEC have been listed as the State-Level New Products and honored with Second Prize of SINOPEC Science and Technology Advancement and Third Prize of SINOPEC Science and Technology Advancement. The technologies have been granted with several state patent rights. The new hydro-reactor internals have been employed in the process hydrogenation units in PetroChina Jinxi Petrochemical Company, PetroChina Dushanzi Petrochemical Company, SINOPEC Jingmen Petrochemical Company and SINOPEC Luoyang Petrochemical Company.

 

2.3  Coke Drum Deheading Technology for Delayed Coking Unit

 

This technology employs automatic deheading devices with a flat gate valve mechanism for the coke drums in Delayed Coking Units, which is a fully automatic, closed head removal system to prevent coke from exposure, enhance the automation level and safe operation performance and improve the working environment and labor intensity for eliminating any potential risks to operators. When coke quench water is present inside the coke drum, deheading operation can be also conducted with water. The coke drum deheading technologies, which are safe and reliable operation, have been employed in the commercial process unit in SINOPEC Jingmen Petrochemical Company.

 

2.4  Feed Atomizing Nozzles for FCC Units

 

Through integrating bubble atomization and pneumatic atomization, LPEC retrofits the previous LPC nozzle into a new generation feed nozzle for FCC Unit - Model LPH Feed Atomizing Nozzle designed with a secondary air-in device, which can be employed to inject feed oil, slurry oil and terminating agent to the riser reactors in FCC Unit. LPH feed nozzle has four sections: pre-mixing chamber in front end, bubble generator in middle, flat nozzle in rear end and an external air distribution mechanism. Primary atomizing steam is introduced from bubble generator and feed is introduced from the side of pre-mixing chamber, where it is mixed with atomizing steam. The oil and steam mixture is broken into fine particles by increasing flow velocity, and then several streams are fed via pores to further impinge oil flow into smaller liquid particles, as a result, large liquid drops are eliminated, and atomization performance is improved. Model LPH Feed Atomizing Nozzles have been commercialized in SINOPEC Anqing Petrochemical Company, SINOPEC Maoming Petrochemical Company, SINOPEC Cangzhou Petrochemical Company, PetroChina Dushanzi Petrochemical Company and PetroChina Jinxi Petrochemical Company.

 

2.5  New Pre-lift Device for FCC Riser Reactor

 

With RFCC process development, pre-lift technologies attract more and more interest from refining industries both in China and abroad. Based on R&D for offshore pre-lift technologies, LPEC develops a new pre-lift equipment, which finds a solution to poor oil-catalyst contact due to uneven catalyst distribution. Specifically, the pre-lift section located at riser reactor bottom is retrofitted into a small fluidized bed, where air distribution rings and internal transfer tubes are provided to allow for separate supply of fluidizing air and gas adder. Catalyst flows to the enlarged section at bottom via regenerator standpipe, where it is fully mixed and lifted to riser reaction zone via the internal tubes. New pre-lifters developed by LPEC have been commercialized in SINOPEC Jinan Petrochemical Company, SINOPEC Yangzi Petrochemical Company, PetroChina Dushanzi Petrochemical Company and PetroChina Jinxi Petrochemical Company.

 

2.6  High-efficiency Stripper for FCC Unit

 

New FCC stripping technology developed by LPEC involves stripping equipment and process. Specifically, 1) Stripper is designed to improve gas-solid contact by retrofitting both internal and external ring baffles to increase the filling percentage of solid phase catalyst in stripping section to 95% from 58% to provide a large contact area. Additionally, skirt and inclined angle for internal and external ring baffles are modified to improve oil gas displacement efficiency and mitigate regenerator load. 2) Multi-segment stripping process is designed to address steam flow directions and improve steam distribution in stripper upper and lower zones, stripping steam efficiency is increased by 15% and the total stripping efficiency is increased to higher than 95%. At present, LPEC has developed its third-generation stripper for FCC Unit, which has been employed in SINOPEC Jinan Petrochemical Company, SINOPEC Wuhan Petrochemical Company, SINOPEC Guangzhou Petrochemical Company, PetroChina Jinxi Petrochemical Company and PetroChina Jinzhou Petrochemical Company.

 

2.7 Dedicated Furnace Technology for Commercial Application  in All SINOPEC Refineries

 

The dedicated furnace technology is a comprehensive technology developed by LPEC and SINOPEC Jinling Petrochemical Company for improvement of overall technical level of furnaces in petroleum refineries and petrochemical plants. The technology consists of smart control system for improving heat efficiency as its control target, optimization technology for furnace combustion system and optimization technology for furnace heat transfer system. This technology has been evaluated by a specialist panel from SINOPEC, which concludes that its overall technical level is at the domestic leading edge. And it has been applied in the commercial units in SINOPEC Jinling Petrochemical Company and Gaoqiao Petrochemical Company.

 

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