Alkylation is a procedure for chemically uniting isobutane with light olefinic hydrocarbons, typically C3 and C4 alkenes, ( e.g. propene, butene ) in the presence of an acerb accelerator, normally sulfuric acid or hydrofluoric acid. The merchandise, alkylate ( an isoparaffin ) has a high-octane value and is blended into motor and air power gasolene to better the antiknock value of the fuel. The light alkenes are most normally available from the catalytic crackers.
Alkylate is one of the best gasolene blending constituents because it is a clean combustion, really low sulfur constituent, with no olefinic or aromatic compounds and with high octane and low vapor force per unit area features.
Alkylation is a procedure for chemically uniting isobutane with light olefinic hydrocarbons, typically C3 and C4 alkenes, ( e.g.propylene, butene ) in the presence of an acerb accelerator, normally sulfuric acid ( H2SO4 ) or hydrofluoric acid ( HF ) . The merchandise, alkylate ( an isoparaffin ) has a high-octane value and is blended into motor and air power gasolene to better the antiknock value of the fuel. The light alkenes are most normally available from the catalytic crackers. Alkylate is one of the best gasolene blending constituents because it is a clean combustion, really low sulfur constituent, with no olefinic or aromatic compounds and with high octane and low vapor force per unit area features [ 1 ] .
1.2 Progresss in alkylation engineerings
The alkylation procedure will go on to be a favoured engineering for bring forthing clean fuels.MTBE ( methyl-tert-butyl ethyl alcohol ) stage out in the USA, execution of the latest European specifications, expansion of the EU and acceptance of cleaner fuels specifications worldwide are major drivers for refiners necessitating more, high octane, gasolene blending constituents that do non incorporate aromatics, benzine, alkenes and sulfur. Besides as the types of gasolene engine in usage worldwide become more unvarying, there will be a general diminution in the markets for low octane gasolene necessitating more constituents to be upgraded to high quality fuel.
Table 1 shows the major proficient and mechanical progresss. Reactor design betterments are one of the most of import developments. The early workss used a pump and time-tank reactor system which was designed to blend the reactants closely with the accelerator and to take the exothermal heat of reaction for temperature control [ 2 ] .It is required that for the coveted reactions to go on with the remotion of the unwanted reactions, good commixture of higher concentrations of dissolved isobutane in the acerb stage is necessary. Since the early reactors were unequal in this regard, new reactor designs evolved which improved the grade of acid-hydrocarbon contacting. The importance of good temperature control was besides realized in the class of clip as commercial experience was gained. Regulating the temperature of the reaction mixture in the suited scope was indispensable for good alkylation. Inadequate temperature control resulted in reduced alkylate outputs and octanes and increased acerb ingestion. Therefore, to avoid these punishments the new reactor designs included improved temperature control techniques every bit good as improved commixture. The two most normally used reactor systems which grew out of the reactor development work for H2SO4 alkylation are the Stratford Engineering Company ‘s Stratco contactor and the M. W. Kellogg Corporation Cascade reactor were bubbled up through liquid HF.
There have been betterments in the readying of provender and this has given rise to growing in alkylation engineering [ 4, 5 ] . The ability to plan better fractionators has made higher quality feedstocks available, and provender pretreatment installations have been developed to take H2O, mercaptans, sulphides, and diolefins efficaciously. Bauxite treating, hot H2O lavation, and electrostatic precipitation are some of the important developments which have improved merchandise quality and decreased fouling and corrosion in downstream equipment. The sulphuric acerb recovery procedure ( SARP ) , developed to cut down the acid ingestion in H2SO4 alkylation units was another part to alkylation engineering. In this procedure the spent acid from an alkylation unit reacts with a part of the alkene provender to organize dialkylsulfates. The dialkylsulfates are extracted from the reaction mixture with isobutane, and the infusion is charged to the alkylation unit.
Table I: Progresss in alkylation engineering [ 3 ]
1 ) Improved reactors
A ) better blending
B ) better temperature control
2 ) Recognition and control of operating variables
3 ) Improved feed readying
4 ) Improved merchandise intervention
5 ) Sulfuric acerb recovery procedure
6 ) Catalyst boosters
7 ) Mechanical and building betterment
2. Types of alkylation procedures
The alkylation procedure can be divided into the sulphuric alkylation procedure and the hydrofluoric acid alkylation procedure, indirect alkylation by acidic rosin, indirect alkylation by solid phosphorous acid and olefin hydrogenation.
2.1. The sulfuric acid procedure
This procedure uses sulfuric acid as the accelerator and its feedstock are propene, butene, amylene, and fresh isobutane.
Feedstocks are fed into the reactor which is divided into zones, each incorporating sulphuric acid, isobutane and alkenes feed. The reactor merchandise contains hydrocarbon and acerb stages which are split in the colonist ; the hydrocarbon stage is washed with acerb and hot H2O for pH control and so depropanized, deisobutanized, and debutanized. The alkylate merchandise so formed can so be used for motor fuel blending or for bring forthing air power class blends. The isobutane goes back to the provender.
Figure 1: Acid catalyzed isobutene dimerization to 2, 4, 4-trimethyl-1-pentene and 2, 4, 4trimethyl2-pentene by the standard Whitmore-type carbocation mechanism [ 3 ] .
2.2 The hydrofluoric acid procedure
This procedure employs hydrofluoric acid as the accelerator. The two types of hydrofluoric acerb alkylation procedure normally used are the Philips and UOP ( a Honeywell company ) processes. While Philips uses a reactor/settler combination system, UOP uses two reactors with separate colonists [ 2 ] .
The major differences between sulphuric and hydrofluoric alkylations ( HF ) are temperature and acerb ingestion. Sulfuric alkylation requires infrigidation to keep a low reactor temperature. The acerb ingestion rate for sulphuric alkylation is over a 100 times that of HF [ 8 ] .
Figure 2: Aliphatic alkylation mechanism with hydrofluoric acid as accelerator: ( a-b ) induction by add-on of HF to the alkene and in the instance of a sec. butylcation, hydride transportation from isobutane to bring forth a tert. butyl cation, ( degree Celsius ) olefin add-on to the tert-butyl cation, and ( vitamin D ) hydride transportation signifier isobutane to give alkylate and renew the tert-butylcation [ 3 ] .
Table II: Research Octane Number ( RON ) and Motor Octane Number ( MON ) of alkylates typically produced by HF alkylation of isobutane with assorted alkenes [ 3 ] .
RON + MON / 2
91 – 92
89.5 – 90.0
90 – 91
Table III: Research Octane Number ( RON ) and Motor Octane Number ( MON ) of alkylates produced by H2SO4 alkylation of isobutane with assorted alkenes at 9-10 & A ; deg ; C,
94-95 % H2SO4 concentration, and isobutane: olefin ratio of 7-9:1 [ 3 ]
2.3 Indirect alkylation by acidic rosin
This procedure employs the usage of a polar dissolver to restrict the activity of the acid rosin in order to better the dimerization selectivity. High transition of isobutene can be obtained at low temperature normally less than 100 & A ; deg ; C [ 8, 9 – 12 ] . On an industrial graduated table, the recovery of the polar dissolver ( third butyl intoxicant ) could function to modulate the merchandise distribution and besides to cut down the sum of oligomer formed during production to less than 10 % [ 8 ] .
The alkylate produced from this engineering has a research octane figure ( RON ) of 99 101 and motor octane figure ( MON ) of 96 – 99.
2.4 Indirect alkylation by solid phosphorous acid
The rule of indirect alkylation by solid phosphorous acid ( SPA ) is the same as by acidic rosin contact action ; the difference being that dimerization over SPA follows an ester-based mechanism [ 13 ] . Heavy oligomer formation is mechanistically limited, [ 10 ] because the strength of the phosphorous acid ester bond decreases with increasing C figure of the alkene.
Indirect alkylation by SPA is carried out in two stairss: selective dimerization of isobutene ( from C4 watercourses ) to organize diisobutene ; followed by hydrogenation to organize the concentrated merchandise isooctane. Selectivity jobs and catalyst inactivation hinder the isobutene dimerization reaction. Because this reaction decides the quality and belongingss of the alkylate formed, it is a important measure in this procedure.
The C4 watercourse, dwelling chiefly of isobutene, n-butane, isobutene, and n-butenes, is fed to the dimerization reactor, where isobutene is dimerized selectively in the presence of SPA accelerator. The reaction is exothermal, and heat must be removed to avoid temperature rises that can take to the formation of unsought oligomers. These oligomers have comparatively high molecular weights and boiling points and are non suited as gasolene blends ; they besides quickly deactivate the accelerator. Depending on the accelerator, an appropriate dissolver may be needed to increase the selectivity toward the dimers. At higher operating temperatures the isobutene derived alkylate quality rapidly deteriorates due to trimerization and checking [ 11 ] .
Propene forms a stronger ester bond with the phosphoric acid than the butylenes, and it will go the dominant carbocation beginning [ 12 ] . The merchandise watercourse from the reactor is fed to a distillment column, where dimerized and heavy merchandises are separated from the unreacted C4 constituents and dissolver. The dimer is so saturated in a separate reactor to organize alkylates in the presence of a hydrogenation accelerator. In order to obtain alkylate quality hydrogenated merchandises from an n-butene rich, isobutene thin provender, the reaction temperature should be less than 160 & A ; deg ; C and the provender should non incorporate more than 5 % propylene or 10 % pentenes.
3. Flow diagrams of direct and indirect alkylation procedure
Figure 3: Block flow diagrams of the direct alkylation ( HF and H2SO4 catalysed alkylation ) constellations evaluated [ 3 ] .
Flow diagram 1: This is the base instance for direct alkylation, utilizing a consecutive tally Iron-Based High Temperature Fischer-Tropsch ( Fe-HTFT ) C4 provender. There is small isobutane in the consecutive tally provender, which constrains the alkylate output.
Flow diagram 2: In order to get the better of the restraint imposed by the low consecutive tally isobutane content of C4 provender, a hydroisomerization unit is included in this two-step flow diagram to change over the consecutive tally n-butane to isobutane. The hydroisomerization unit has an internal recycle, with an overall high isobutane output. Although the alkylate output may hold been well improved compared to the base instance, most of the C4 alkenes have non been converted.
Flow diagram 3: The ratio of paraffins to alkenes necessary for direct alkylation can be balanced by hydrogenating some of the C4 olefins to C4 paraffins in order to increase the alkylate output.
Flow diagram 4: The alkylate output may be farther increased by utilizing propylene as the alkylating alkene. Propene is more abundant than the C4 hydrocarbons in consecutive tally HTFT provender, which implies that all the hydrocarbons can be hydrogenated and hydroisomerized to isobutane for alkylation with propylene. In this instance an alkylate output above 100 % based on the C4 provender can be obtained, but at lower octane figure than with C4 stuff merely.
Figure 4: Block flow diagrams of the indirect alkylation ( acidic rosin and solid phosphorous acerb dimerization ) constellations evaluated [ 3 ] .
Flow diagram 5: It consists of acerb catalyzed dimerization followed by hydrogenation. The direct transition of isobutene in consecutive tally HTFT syncrude with an acidic accelerator has a low alkylate output ( 8 % ) , since merely 8 % of the C4 alkenes are isobutene. However, this alkylate has an octane figure of about 100.
Flow diagram 6: By usage of skeletal isomerisation, the alkylate quality and output of n-butenes to isobutene can be improved. The n-butene transition in the instance of acidic rosin dimerization is really low, and it is best to isomerise all n-butenes to isobutene. This consequences in an alkylate output of 81 % .
4 Product output and quality
In a fuels refinery there is an inducement to change over usually gaseous merchandises into liquid transit fuels. The measure and the quality of the liquid fuel being produced are both of import, and in footings of alkylate production, the quality is related to the octane figure ( ON ) ( 1/2 ) RON + ( 1/2 ) MON ) of the motor-gasoline. The investing economic science is refinery dependant, with octane constrained refineries seting a premium on quality, while refineries with an unsaturated market seting a premium on volume.
Table Four: Alkylate output and alkylate octane figure calculated for the indirect alkylation flowschemes shown in figure 4 [ 3 ]
Alkyl.yld ( m % C4 )
Oct.no. ( 1/2 ) RON+ ( 1/2 ) Monday
Base instance straight run
Case 1 + C4
Case 2 + butane
Case 3 + propylene
The alkylate output is based on the mass of alkylate produced per mass of entire consecutive tally high temperature Fisher – Tropsch C4 cut stuff.
Table Volt: Alkylate output and alkylate octane figure calculated for the indirect alkylation flowschemes shown in figure 3 [ 3 ]
Indir. Alkyl. flowscheme
Alkyl. yld ( m % C4 )
Oct.no ( RON+MON ) /2
Base instance straight run
72 ( 90 ) B
Base instance + skeletal
The alkylate output is based on the mass of alkylate produced per mass of entire consecutive tally high temperature Fischer-Tropsch C4 – cut material.b output including coproduced kerosen
5 Environmental facets
The environmental loads due to the intervention of free hydrofluoric acid ( HF ) losingss from an alkylation unit can non be overlooked. The world is that hydrofluoric acid losingss from the unit do occur through side-reactions, organizing organic fluorides, which become entrained in merchandise watercourses, and through direct entrainment of free HF in a heavy hydrocarbon waste watercourse [ 6, 7 ] .
The environmental facets associated with the liquid stage direct alkylation processes led to the development of solid acid direct alkylation.
From an environmental base point, indirect alkylation is preferred to direct alkylation and that flowscheme 5 ( figure 4 ) is the most environmentally friendly [ 3 ] .
It was found that the pick of engineering depended on the different refinement precedences, viz. , the followers: ( a ) Least complexness, ( B ) Highest alkylate output
[ 1 ] Encyclopedia of Earth Home page. hypertext transfer protocol: //www.eoearth.org/
article/alkylation_in_petroleum_refining ( accessed Aug.30, 2010 )
[ 2 ] Albright, L.F. ; ‘Comparison of Alkylation Processes ‘ : Chem.Eng. ,
209, Oct. 10, 1996.
[ 3 ] Wang, Y. ; Subramaniam, B. , 6874, Ind.Eng.Chem.Res. , Vol.47, figure 10, 2008.
[ 4 ] Albright, L.F. ; ?Alkylation Processes Using Sulfuric Acid As Catalyst? , Ibid,
143, Aug. 15, 1997.
[ 5 ] De Klerk, A. ; ?Isomerisation of 1-butene to isobutene at low temperature,
Ind.Eng.Chem.Res. , 43, 6325, 2004.
[ 6 ] Occupational Safety and Health Administration Homepage. hypertext transfer protocol: //www.osha.gov/
dts/osta/otm/otm_iv/otm_iv_2.html ( accessed Aug.31, 2010 ) .
[ 7 ] Warren, R.T. ; ?Alkylation and Isomerisation? , oil and gas diary, vol 97,
Issue 4, Jan.26, 1999.
[ 8 ] UOP Home page. hypertext transfer protocol: //www.uop.com/objects/NPRASpr2003HFAlkyd.pdf /
Article/advances in hydrofluoric ( HF ) acid catalyzed alkylation
( accessed Sept. 14, 2010 ) .
[ 9 ] Kamath, R. S. ; Qi, Z. ; Sundmacher, K. ; Aghalayam, P. ; Mahajani, S. M. ,
?Process analysis for dimerization of isobutene by reactive distillation? ,
Ind.Eng.Chem.Res. 45, 1575, 2006.
[ 10 ] De Klerk, A. ?Reactivity differences of octenes over solid phosphorous acid? ,
Ind. Eng. Chem. Res. 45, 578, 2006.
[ 11 ] De Klerk, A. ; Engelbrecht, D.J. ; Boikanyo, H. ?Oligomerization of
Fischer-Tropsch alkenes: consequence of provender and operating conditions on
hydrogenated motor-gasoline quality? , Ind. Eng.Chem. Res. 43, 7449, 2004.
[ 12 ] De Klerk, A. ?Distillate production by oligomerization of Fischer-Tropsch alkenes over solid phosphorous acid? , Energy Fuels, 20, 439, 2006.
De Klerk, A. ; ?Isomerisation of 1-butene to isobutene at low temperature? ,
Ind.Eng.Chem.Res. , 43, 6325, 2004.
[ 13 ] Nelson, W.L. , McGraw-Hill, New, crude oil refinery technology 3rd edition, P 660,